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  1. 23 points
    We let the others on our teams know what we planned as we sat again at the dining table and of course, there were objections. “You’re letting Lurch in the Manor!?” Chuck balked. I chuckled. “I think Fester is more like it; only Adrian isn’t as funny as Fester was.” I grinned at his Addams Family reference. I shrugged. “But I see a little Lurch in him, too.” “Only Lurch and Fester weren’t vampires!” Chuck said. “That…whatever his name…is a vampire!” “And we will be prepared.” Colin smiled. “You’re taking your Disflavor?” “Sure, but…he’ll be here?” Chuck said in disbelief. “If he takes our offer.” I said. “They won’t hunt here.” Colin said. “They wouldn’t dare. We’ll have plenty of Burke’s premium blood on hand, they won’t need to feast.” “We learned there were quite a few vampires out there. Far more than we imagined.” I added as I looked at Colin. “There is no way we can get rid of all of them.” Colin shook his head. “I don’t think we can either, but we can give hope to those like us…” he put his head against mine. “…some of us, who were turned without our consent.” “And Morticia!” Chuck added. “She’s coming, too?” Colin grinned. “She’s more a Wednesday Addams as far as I’m concerned.” His smiled grew as my eyes widened as I realized he knew what we were talking about. “I was a vampire with a lot of time at night. I saw the show. I had TV.” I chuckled. “…and watched while it was current?” Colin let that slide as looked back at them. “Anyway, this will give us more control. Maybe this will give someone the confidence to show their hand.” Mark nodded with his arms crossed over his chest. “Uh, huh. Are you sure you can keep control?” He scowled. “Chuck was telling us about them. That Adrian guy sounds scary.” “Of course, he’s scary, he’s a vampire!” Stan said logically. Mark rolled his eyes. “So are they.” He waved at Colin and me. “You do remember that, don’t you?” Stan wasn’t bothered by that. “They’re the good guys!” He smiled. “They wouldn’t hurt anyone.” He waved at Willie. “Nor would he, but I dare say the rat population has probably increased since you’ve gone on the serum.” He waved at Alex, Gabriella and Burke. “None of them were bad guys, but Adrian is.” Colin nodded. “Having them here will make it possible for us to maybe know what the hidden agenda may be.” I nodded. “But they have to accept the invitation first.” Colin smiled. “Do you think they could possibly refuse?” He sighed. “But I don’t think it will be very soon…so…” he stood up. “…I invite you all to take some time off.” He grinned at me. “I intend to spend some time with my husband. Alone.” I smiled back. “Are you?” He leaned in whispering. “I plan a few hours in a suite I have booked. A nice dinner with just the two of us…a little dancing and…” He stood up smiling. I chuckled. “We’re hardly ever apart!” Colin nodded. “Chasing vampires. I think we need to do something not on a job. You remember? A date?” “A date.” I grinned. “No shop talk.” Colin shook his head. “Not a word.” He promised. We did spend a nice night in town. It was interesting how my perceptions changed. We checked in the hotel where there were people who still didn’t approve of Colin and me…well this was the Bible belt…people are all different. The man who checked us in. Looking at the computer screen, he saw we were checking into a suite that was built for romance. When his eyes saw that and he looked up at us…I couldn’t help but laugh. The fact that two men were checking into this suite…wasn’t always accepted by some. This was a business that specialized in giving people a place to come to explore their romantic sides and we were given the key to the suite and escorted to our destination. The bellman opened the door and we walked in to a honeymoon suite. Not one of those cheap hotels where you paid by the hour. This was elegant and nicely furnished, but had a Jacuzzi in the floor before a round bed. There were a lot of curtains and a lot of pillows to spread around to get comfortable…wherever. A fireplace burned merrily and there was champagne with two glasses and chocolates on a nice table. Colin grinned, having gotten the message this man sent. “No matter what century, things always stay the same.” He shook his head. “I wonder if humanity will ever change.” “For so long you hid that other side of you from others.” I observed. “The fact that we have been accepted by a lot of people with no thought about our being gay; I really hadn’t thought about our homosexual side. The vampire part sort of took the lead role of what to hide.” Colin chuckled as he took my hand as we walked deeper into the suite. “Even in the century I was from, I never understood why it mattered.” He shrugged. “I watched people. Our whole society was geared so that a person could find that one person. We sing about it, write about it and have industries dedicated to helping love blossom and maintain love once discovered. I watched as society as a whole; made to bring people together. Everything from how we conduct ourselves even in business. You buy a car because it will make you sexy. Women buy perfume to make them more attractive. Everything is designed to bring two humans together. Even this…” he waved at the suite. “…all created to bring two people together.” He waved at the bed and hot tub. “To encourage touch and joining of two people to help…unite them.” “The fact we are both male?” I asked. Colin shook his head. “Shouldn’t matter.” He pulled me closer. “I love you, Devon, but it’s more than that.” He smiled leaning in kissing me gently. “My life was empty before. I didn’t know how much until you came into that life. We touch physically, yes, but it’s more than just sex. I was incomplete without you and I know I can’t exist if we aren’t together. I love you, I need you…so much.” I smiled as I looked in his emerald eyes. “I love you, Colin. I need you. We’ll do what all we can to be sure we’ll stay together.” I felt his hand go up my back as mine ran over him. “To me, your being with me; is as necessary as my next breath. I would not live without you any more than not taking my next breath and just as necessary.” I said as my hands came around and began unbuttoning his shirt. “When we touch, and make love, I feel a connection with you I’ve never knew I could have with someone else, nor will I find that with anyone else. I want no other. The fact that you need me means so much. The fact you love me is so important. I adore you, Colin.” Colin pulled me closer. “This isn’t the honeymoon, but tonight is just about you and me.” He helped me slip out of my shirt. “You are the sexiest human being I’ve ever seen. I want to become a part of you.” I laughed, but it wasn’t a laugh because it was funny, but because I felt the same way. “Two souls touch in that special way so basic and so human that only humans can. Why does it bother people that the two humans are male?” I brought him in for a deep, consuming kiss. “Let’s touch souls.” I said quietly bringing him down with me on the round bed. We did touch a lot. I really didn’t believe in much that was supernatural, but what we shared was damned super and it was very natural. Believe me when I say, every time we loved, I loved him even more. Be us human or vampire, our marriage was solid. We went back to Wentworth when it was morning and greeted by Mark and Alex who’d come back after a night on watch. Mark looked at us smiling. “I hope you had a good night.” Colin nodded as he put his arm around me. “It was…memorable.” Alex nudged Mark. “They need to be told.” Colin frowned. “Told what?” Mark nodded. “It seems we’re not the only ones watching Marissa and Adrian. From our vantage point, we saw two others watching the compound.” He pulled out his camera. “I’ve sent Stan the images to see if they come up.” “You saw them.” I said. “Did they see you?” Alex shook his head. “There were four at first, then just two after an hour. They were good, but not professionals.” Colin nodded as he thought. “We’ve been watching Marissa and the compound a while. They’ve not showed up before, have they?” Mark shook his head. “It would have been reported.” “All they did was watch the compound?” I asked. Alex nodded. “For the entire time we were there. They left just before Willie and Shelly relieved us.” “Male? Female?” Colin asked. “Male.” Mark answered. “Jeans and denim jackets…hunting boots on both of them.” He shrugged. “The older one, about forty something wore one of the camouflage hats guys were when hunting. I want to say there were good ol’ boys.” I chuckled. “Southern hicks?” Mark grinned. “I didn’t say that…” he chuckled. “…but I suspect they spat tobaccy…” Mark said with a Southern twang. “…and had the Confederate Stars and Bars on their truck.” Alex nodded. “They looked like they were hunters and I think that was just how they dressed. They were hunting, but it wasn’t deer.” “You have pictures.” Colin said. “Stan should be doing the facial recognition search now.” Mark nodded. Colin, Alex, Mark and I went to the media room that Stan had taken to work out of. Stan looked up when we walked in, looking…well…he wasn’t in his agent gear. He looked relaxed in jeans and t-shirt. He smiled at us. “I got those pictures you sent, Mark. The computer did find a match for one of them.” He reported without us even asking. He typed on a computer keyboard. “I miss Buddy.” He commented to no one. He pointed at the other computer in the room he used as a second computer and monitor. The screen changed to a crime photograph of a young man in his twenties with sandy blonde hair. “This is Gavin Darcy. This is a two year old picture of him taken two years ago after a fight he got into with a club owner. He’s from Holly Hill, South Carolina?” He looked up questioningly at Colin and me. “Holly Hill is a neighboring town.” I said. “Other than the fight, is there anything else?” Stan shook his head. “Just the minor things, nothing too violent…” he held up his finger. “…but his sister, Karen Darcy was killed a few weeks ago.” He looked at us. “An unknown cause of death. Massive blood loss. She was just seventeen.” I frowned. “It could be just a random vampire that’s guilty here.” Colin nodded. “So, why were those two watching the compound? They had to have made a connection.” “Do we do anything about it?” Mark asked. “They watched while off property and didn’t trespass.” “What can we do?” I shrugged. “They didn’t break any laws. The hunting cover holds true. That area is known to be just that…a hunting club.” Colin sighed. “It’s obvious they tracked the sister’s killer to the compound. They want to catch whoever killed her. I don’t see much choice for now. We leave them alone…until they do something stupid.” I nodded. “But you know they will. If they want to hunt down and kill their sister’s killer, do we stop them?” “If we don’t, they could die, as well.” Colin pointed out. “The whole reason we started this team was to prevent death. This will lead to death.” “But they might succeed.” I said hopefully. “If they kill one of the vampires there, it would benefit us.” Colin shook his head. “Since we don’t know how old Adrian is we can’t say for certain, but I know he’s not young and I know he knows how to protect himself.” He started his circular pace. “Of if could even be Marissa.” “Or another member of that family she didn’t tell us about.” I added. Mark shrugged. “We’re strung pretty fine manpower wise now. But we could have them followed.” He looked at Stan. “You have their addresses?” Stan tried to not look offended again. “Of course, I do.” Mark grinned at Stan. “Just checking.” He looked at Colin. “Maybe Chuck can swing by there and check things out.” Colin gave a shrugging nod. “We might have to.” He looked at Mark. “If this were a terrorist we were looking at, what would you recommend doing?” Mark nodded. “We’d have Chuck check.” “Then that’s what we’ll do.” Holly Hill was not a big town, but it was about twenty to thirty miles away from where Marissa and Adrian stayed. It would have been no problem for one of them to travel there, hunt and come back. Holly Hill was sparsely populated and there were farms there. Some of the textile industry was in the upper part in the more rural areas and many workers lived out there to enjoy a more country life. There were also some manufacturing industries. It would be easy to hunt there. Chuck went there and did some official snooping as an FBI agent. He interviewed the Darcy family saying it was part of an ongoing investigation. Karen Darcy was a waitress at a truck stop off the highway when she didn’t come home one evening after work. Her body was found a few days later. The police there had no leads, her father, Tucker Darcy gave a report that he suspected a man that had been seen that he followed one night. He had told police this, but they had come up with nothing. There had been reports also that some farm animals had been found dead by the same means, as in they had been drained of blood. There were rumors in the area from alien mutilations to other things, but no one dared mention vampires as that would have been impossible, because there were no vampires. “Okay,” Colin began as he did his pace. “The farm animal deaths are one thing, but why would he kill a human? Why now?” Alex shrugged. “Well, we hate to admit it, but Adrian is male.” “You think it was sex?” Willie asked. Willie looked at Colin. “You had sex as a vampire. There were no reports that Karen Darcy had been sexually assaulted.” I shook my head. “This is the South.” I said. “The death of a young girl like this, often if they think it’s too late, because the family doesn’t want the shame of something like this reported, won’t report an assault.” Mark nodded. “That’s right.” He shrugged. “Even when it’s not her fault, many families don’t want it known that their little girl was sexually assaulted.” Chuck frowned. “The police told me the investigation was still going on, but I think she was. Small town police will also be protective of its own people. They think it is more important to protect the family’s privacy. The officers in Holly Hill didn’t strike me as having a whole lot of training.” I nodded. “They often don’t.” “Adrian sees her, desires her and rapes and kills her?” Gabriella asked, but not surprised. “Even though we hate to say it, Adrian may not be the one that did this.” Colin stressed. “We know there are other members of Marissa’s family that are vampires. They could have been visiting her, saw this Karen and…” he waved. “…did what they did.” Colin looked at me. “We discussed love the other night, be it human of vampire. Sex will always be a motivator. Until we know who it was, it really doesn’t matter. This wasn’t love. I don’t even think it was about sex. This was about power. Plain and simple.” He looked at me. “He could have been a rapist before he was turned.” He threw his hands out in frustration. “Whatever…it motivated Mr. Darcy and his son to track them to the hunting club. They think whoever did it is there.” “He’s just a vampire, but rapist and killer?” I asked. Colin nodded. “It’ very possible.” I shrugged. “Okay, now we have a new wrinkle.” I frowned. “These people obviously care about Karen, or they wouldn’t be hunting this person down. It has to be a vampire because of the blood loss. Now we will have to protect them, as well.” “We need to get a thorough report.” George said. “If not, I can get one on my own.” He looked at Chuck. “Can the FBI get me in? I can do the autopsy myself.” Shelly nodded. “We can make it official. I’ll call Ruben. We’ll get the authorization.”
  2. 21 points
    The whole ride there all I could think about was what to do, what to say…how to give that court no option but to leave Tak with us. That kid…that could’ve been me…what if the James’ found me before I made it to the Saints? Would I still be so angry? So destructive? Would trouble follow me the way it does? Or have I always been this way? As we approached the courthouse I was relieved to see a familiar older man standing in front of the courthouse. I couldn’t help but run up the stairs and give him a hug, remembering to be light because of his age “What the hell are you doing here?” I asked, shocked to see him out of the house. He lightly shrugged and smiled “It’s a hard day for the family…we need all hands on deck.” He smiled, leaning hard on his cane “I wanted to go yesterday too, but Lucy was worried it would be too much…she’s such a worrier.” I couldn’t help but smile as we introduced him to Tak…to his newest grandson. Hell he even got to meet Carter. Fuck the Averys for making this be how everyone meets, fuck them for jumping on us…for trying to ruin the family we’re building. As we got closer to the start of the session Grandpa waived me over and Lucy away. “What’s going on with you? You look so worried.” He observed, taking a good look at me. I shook my head and thought everything over “I am worried.” I confessed “I mean what if I can’t do this? What if I screw up? What if they take Tak away?” “Why wouldn’t Riley Walker be able to do this?” he laughed with a big smile “After what you did 2 weeks ago…you damn near killed me, but damn if it wasn’t brave. I’m pretty sure you can do anything you set your heart to.” “But was it brave?” I shook, still doubting myself “I’m not brave…no one taught me how to be. I’ve only been taught how to fuck things up…how to be violent.” My grandpa reached over and lightly poked me in the chest “You’re not taught to be brave…” he began, holding his finger over my heart “It’s something that you’re born with…and you…you’re one of the bravest men I’ve ever known…that says a lot.” He nodded, looking into my eyes “You rescued a kid that tried to drag you back to a gang that probably would’ve killed you. I think you can handle some judge.” I nodded and carefully though it all over, until finally the judge walked in, and told us to get to our seats. The only difference between yesterday and today was that instead of being in the crowd, I was sitting at the long tables with a microphone jammed in my face…but as far as I was concerned, there was still a monster sitting across the room from me. As Owen walked into the court room I could feel the shock come from Aaron and Carter. He hasn’t been coming to school since he came home…I don’t even think he’s left the house. Thick deep scars covered his face from where I cut into him, permanently leaving a mark he can never run from. “You did that?” Walter whispered, from next to me. I took a deep breath and slowly nodded my head, hoping Carter didn’t overhear. The start to the case seemed to drag on as Mr. Kemp argued my case, argued that I was just trying to keep us alive. That I came to his rescue, not the other way around. Meanwhile the prosecution tried to paint a picture of a golden child ruined by a rogue exgang member. Finally it came time for me to take the stand, to stand up for myself, while Owen looked on, too scared to take the stand himself. “So Mr. Walker, you just keep finding yourself in court this week.” The prosecutor began, slowly pacing in front of me. “Objection” I shot out, not quite sure what I was doing “Arguementative” Mr. Kemp let out, before I could say the wrong thing. “Sustained” the judge nodded, eyeing down the prosecutor “Ask what you need to. I’m not interested in all the drama.” “Well Mr. Walker, let’s begin with all the charges that were brought against you in July of last year…” “What charges?” I stubbornly shrugged “My records as clean as a whistle.” “So that’s how you’ll be playing this.” He nodded “Pretend that you weren’t charged guilty of various aggressive crimes?” “The court ruled to give me a second chance…unless you don’t respect the decisions courts make?” I poked, already irritated by the lawyer’s crap. “There’s the infamous attitude of Cy Walker.” The lawyer let out, still pacing “Regardless of the old charges you refuse to acknowledge, isn’t it true you started a fight with Owen Avery just a few months ago?” “Started?” I repeated with a shake of my head “No. Ended? Yes. When you tell two adopted kids that their adoptive parents aren’t their parents…you get animated reactions.” “So you admit to hitting Owen?” the lawyer let out. “Yes” I acknowledged “Then let it show that the anger, the violence…it hasn’t left this young man. It’s still right there at the surface.” The lawyer explained “a few words are no reason to hit someone. And you couldn’t help yourself, and when you found Owen tied up in your old hangout spot, with a knife in your hands… you didn’t hesitate, did you?” “Knife in my hand with a gun to my head.” I corrected with a snarl “and I did. I told Ro Martinez that there was no point to it…that it was senseless violence, but thanks to that, I got this fancy new scar.” I fought back, pointing to a new mark on my face “So yeah, I had to carve up Owen, but it was the only way for us both to survive.” “Was it?” the lawyer shook “Or could you have worked with police? Could you have just waited a few hours for police to arrive and work out a plan to assure his safe return?” I went to speak but the lawyer waived his hand, feeling that he already made his case. “Riley Walker” Mr. Kemp proudly let out, standing up “It wasn’t that long ago that we stood in a room down the hall petitioning for your adoption, and in a few weeks I plan on doing the same with your younger brother Takbir…the child you rescued from the saints in addition to Owen.” “Enough of the dramatics Joshua.” The judge groaned, rolling her eyes. “Mr. Walker, did you have to go to the Saints 2 weeks ago?” he asked, jumping right into it. “No” I shook “I coulda stayed home…coulda let the cops try and handle it…but if I did that they woulda killed Owen and found another way to get me.” “So then you’re saying if you didn’t react the way you did, Owen Avery would be dead right now?” Kemp continued, looking towards the judge. “Objection! Leading the witness.” The defending lawyer barked. “Sustained.” The judge shook, already hearing the point she needed to. “Did you want to go back to the saints Riley?” Kemp continued, unphased by the objection. “No” I dismissed without hesitation “I would’ve done anything in my power to have stayed away for the rest of my life…I never wanted to see them again.” “And it’s true you’ve suffered symptoms similar to PTSD before your return, and are experiencing them even worse now after?” “Yeah” I reluctantly nodded. “Was there ever a point you could’ve left the saints without rescuing Owen Avery?” Mr. Kemp questioned, quickly running through his points. “Yeah…about a thousand different times” I confessed “But on my first night back…after we both got beaten to hell…he asked me not to let him die.” I shook reflecting on the pain we were both in that night “I knew then that I couldn go without at least tryin to save him.” “Your honor” Mr. Kemp moved on, satisfied with his questions “Why in the world would my client go back to an abusive gang to save someone he hated?” he poked, looking towards me “Look at the scars that cover him, and the dried blood that’s on his face, those old ones came from Ro Martinez, and that new blood? Still Ro Martinez, who viciously attacked him in this very room in front of a room full of people. I would hate to know what that man did to Riley Walker behind closed doors.” Mr. Kemp exhaled “But regardless Riley put his life in danger to save a boy who went to Ro Martinez hoping to drag Riley back to hell. Why in the hell should he be punished for that?” “Owen Avery” The judge called waving Mr. Kemp back to the bench “Keep in mind you don’t have to answer any questions, but it will reflect poorly on your case. Did you go to the Saints in hopes that you could help them kidnap Riley Walker?” Owen stood up but didn’t speak. “Okay.” The judge exhaled motioning for me to return to my seat “Brock Avery, why are you pursing to take away the James families’ right to foster and adopt?” Brock stood up and stared me down “Does it even have to be asked?” he shook with anger “Look at what they bought back the first time! Look at what he did to my son! Now they’re trying to bring back another one?! I don’t even want to find out the hell that one can reign down upon the Northside , god knows he’s from the right religion to be violent.” I went to stand up against the xenophobic shot at my younger brother, but Walter grabbed onto me knowing that those words damaged him without anyone having to say anything. “The Northside should be thanking me for this!” The judge raised her eyebrows shaking off the comments and turned back to me “Mr. Walker, is there anything you want to say in your defense?” I stood up and turned towards the prosecution table “Despite everything that’s happening…despite you trying to rip my brother away form us…I don’t regret saving you. Even if you take away my brother, and believe me I’ll find a way to get him back, I still won’t regret saving you.” I nodded, taking the high road for the first time in my life “Look…” I began turning back to the judge “Me and Takbir dragged Owen up fire escapes and helped him jump from rooftop to rooftop, all while knowing we could be caught any second.” I explained, keeping eye contact with the judge “At any second we could’ve left him behind. Me and Tak were climbers for the gang, we could’ve made that trip in under 5 minutes, but with Owen dragging us down it took us double that time…putting us at even more risk. Why would I have saved him if I wanted to hurt him?” “Because you’re smarter than you let on!” Brock interrupted with venom “You’re evil and malicious. You knew exactly how to make yourself look innocent…after all weren’t you’re a lieutenant in the saints? Didn’t you understand organized crime and how to…” “Enough” Owen finally spoke up, taking a stand “I…I didn’t want to charge Riley…” he exhaled, finally coming clean “he saved me…but my dad…he can’t see that. He…” “Owen!” Brock shouted turning towards his son “Are you scared of Riley? Did he threaten you…” “Enough!” the judge yelped, slamming her gavel down “All of you get the hell out of my courtroom! What a waste of time and money! Owen Avery, be grateful that Mr. Walker found it in his heart to help you. Brock Avery, curb your prejudice, it’s not a good look on anyone. Riley Walker…stay out of the courtroom for a while.” I quickly nodded, as a huge weight fell off my shoulders. What a waste of time…what a stupid case! That judge knew it was bullshit from the beginning! But still…it was nice to see Owen stand up…for him to finally tell the truth. As he walked out of the court room I smiled and nodded to him…I wasn’t lying on…I don’t regret saving him…not for one second. That night we celebrated more than we ever had before. We celebrated Ro Martinez being locked up, me being home, Takbir joining the family…just…everything! As it all calmed down I found my grandpa alone, thinking everything over. “What up with you?” I smiled, sitting across from him “Too old to party?” He let out a small laugh and shook his head “Young man I’ve partied like you’ve never seen before! But todays not a day for parties.” “No?” I poked, not understanding. “No” he repeated “It’s a day to be grateful…it’s a day to look around and be thankful for all you have.” He explained “I thought the day your father was born would be the happiest day of my life…but it turns out sitting here…watching him bring his own family together…this is the happiest day of my life.” He smiled, taking another long look at me “If there’s anything you ever remember about me…remember this lesson. Water always find’s it’s level.” He began with the shake of his hand “It’s true that no matter how good things are, well you’ll get brought back to earth…but no matter how bad things get…good will always come around to balance it out.” He nodded, hoping I was listening “A few weeks ago, things looked really dark…we thought for sure you would die in the Southside, and then you started getting sued…but good balanced it out…and now you have a younger brother to show for it.” I smiled and nodded my head, fully understanding another important lesson from my grandfather “You really thought I wasn’t going to make it back?” “Hey, I never doubted you!” he laughed, leaning back “but all of these people…they’re such worriers!” I nodded with a smile once more “And I don’t doubt you tomorrow when I’ll be watching you from the stands.” “You’re coming?” I poked in shock. “Wouldn’t miss it for the world.” He nodded with confidence “Show me what you can do.” “I thought basketball wasn’t a real man’s sport?” I teased with a big grin. “It’s not” he joked in a laugh “But that doesn’t mean I won’t be there for my grandson.” I thankfully nodded, and enjoyed the rest of the night with my parents, my brothers, Carter, and my grandparents. I didn’t feel whole, but I was happy…that is until that morning, when water found it’s level once more. “What?” I forced out as Nancy’s words seemed to ring out in my ears. I looked to Walter in shock, but he was too upset to manage any words “Grandpa passed away in his sleep last night” Nancy repeated, this time in even more emotional breaths. Aaron grabbed onto me, and brought me in, knowing what grandpa meant to me…what he meant to both of us. Pretty soon I felt the thin arms of my younger brother wrap around me as emotions began to run loose…it’s not fair! I had so much left to learn…so much to gain! He was in fine health…he was fine! How could this happen?! Everything…it was all just coming together…why? “It was painless…” Nancy continued trying to comfort me “He left us happy. He had one last good night with his family…sometimes that’s all we can hope for.” I stood up, shaking Tak and Aaron off of me, and went to scream something…anything…but before I could Walter reached out and pulled me in. “It’ll be okay” he let out trying to keep it together “He was so proud of you…he was so proud to have you as a grandson.” “Why?” I forced out, trying my hardest not to let the tears show “Why’d it have to happen? I wanted him to watch me…I wanted him to see me play…I wanted…” “He’ll still be watching” Walter comforted, lightly rubbing my back “He’ll just be above you tonight.” “Well…” Nancy began “That’s if he’s okay with…” “Oh he’s playing” Walter insisted, as our hug broke and he held me at a distance “What would grandpa tell you?” “To be brave” I nodded “To win tonight.” “Then that’s what you’ll do.” Walter reassured with another nod. Before I knew it I was on that home court. Black jersey and jordans on, except tonight I wore something new…a silver dog tag around my neck. A reminder of who I was playing for…of who I wanted to become. Nancy had let the team know, and they did their best to comfort me…but tonight I wasn’t in the mood to talk…I was in the mood to play. The second those lights hit me…the second the ball flew in the air for tip off…well you better know where my head was. I flew that night like I never had before. Every shot felt like an angel was up there making sure they were going in. Every move was precise and powerful…I played with emotion, and I wasn’t afraid to let it show. I started to get friendly jeers from the bench for being a ball hog…but I wanted the ball in my hands all game…I wanted this to be mine…I wanted to be the one to bring this home. Normally in basketball that fails terribly…normally you wind up shooting yourself into a hole you can’t get out of…but when you play with the emotions I had…well you’re unstoppable no matter what you do. I took down men half my size, and did it without thinking twice. Every now and again I would dish it out to Carter, or one of the guys…but I did my best to make a point…that just like the past two days, nothing was going to stop me. As the last second began to pass by, I felt the ball bounce up and down off my hands. I felt tension begin to build in the crowd as our victory was guaranteed. I felt emotion begin to erupt off the bench…and as the last buzzer sounded I couldn’t keep it in anymore. I slowly fell to my knees and let my emotions finally explode out of me. I grabbed onto my dog tag tightly, and shook my head making sure my grandfather knew this one was for him…that he was the one fueling me tonight. Carter gave me a few seconds before grabbing onto me and pulling me up into a hug. I held him tightly as a few more tears fell from my eyes, before finally he pushed me away slightly to wipe them from my face. I nodded my head as the joy of winning began to overtake the pain of my loss. Before I knew it I grabbed onto carter and landed a kiss on his lips…right there, in front of everyone. I felt the air suck out of the gym as everyone focused in on us…but for the first time since I met him, I wasn’t ashamed. Fuck it…let them stare…let them know…I have everything I’ll ever need. Carter nervously giggled as we finally broke away “Well that’s one way to tell everyone.” I shrugged as the crowd once more returned to excitement, our kiss not bothering them in the least. We spent a few more minutes celebrating as a team before I finally walked up to my family. “So me and Carter…we’re…” I began, but Nancy grabbed me and pulled me into a hug before I could finish. “We already know” she interrupted “We’ll talk about that later, but tonight! Oh my God!” she exclaimed with excitement “I had no idea you could even play like that!” “Neither did I” I giggled, turning towards Walter “It was grandma” I nodded “I could feel him with me.” Walter nodded his head and once more embraced me “I know” he nodded “He would be so proud…he is so proud.” “So you like boys?” Tak poked, as I broke away from our father “Like you want to date them?” “Yes Tak” I shrugged looking at him “I know that’s different from how we were raised on the streets, but it is what it is.” “Mhm” Nancy supported “It’s never a crime to love anyone.” She explained, hoping the lesson would sink in with Tak. “Okay” he nodded with a smile in true Tak fashion “Go be with your boyfriend then!” Tak didn’t have to tell me twice. As I ran back on the court and celebrated with my team. It all felt good, it all felt real. Yet as the days passed, as the celebrations turned to a wake and a funeral...I couldn’t help but let reality sink in. My nightmares only got worse, and despite Ro being behind bars…well the idea of him still scared me shitless. “Dad” I let out, a week later as things finally calmed down “I uhm…” my foot began to shake as I thought over my next few words “I want to go to a rehab center for PTSD.” He nodded his head, feeling that this was coming “Okay we’ll set one up…” “No” I interrupted, knowing he didn’t understand what I was trying to say “I mean like go away to one.” “Oh” he exhaled, looking at me “Like live at one for a while.” “Yeah” I nervously nodded “I need to leave Chicago for a while…I need to get my head straight.” He somberly bit on his lip thinking about it all “You have a place in mind don’t you” “It’s in Michigan…it specializes in addiction and mental disorders…They can take me whenever.” I sighed, looking up at him. “You want to go tonight?” he asked, not quite understanding. “Tomorrow morning” I shook “I think I should stay there for a month or two…just until my body knows I’m safe.” “Okay” he accepted, but I could tell it was hard for him to hear “let’s go tell your mom.” “Can you?” I nervously poked, not sure I had the strength. “No” he let out “That’s something you have to do.” I nodded accepting the truth, as we both headed upstairs and into her room. “Mom” I forced out looking at her “I have to leave for a while.” “Oh yeah?” she smiled, figuring it was a joke “And where are you going?” “Michigan.” I answered, anxiously sitting next to her on the bed. “What’s in Michigan?” she gently laughed, rubbing her hand on my back. “Rehab.” I exhaled as she finally realized I was being serious “I need to go for PTSD…I need to leave Chicago for a while. “ She looked from me to Walter, desperately trying to get a grip over my words “What?” she forced out. “We both knew this was coming” Walter spoke looking at his wife “We have to accept that this is best for him. We have to let him try this…it’s just two months…we can fly out every weekend…if that’s okay with you.” He poked turning towards me. I thought it over and nodded my head “Can it be just you two for a while? Then once I’m sure I’m settled Aaron and Tak can come too.” “Of course. Walter accepted, embracing me. I couldn’t help but let tears fall as they both pulled me in…who would’ve guessed I would find a family like this? Who would’ve guessed I would’ve gotten my happy ending. That night we called in Tak and Aaron and explained it to them. There were tears at first, but I could tell they understood…that they got it. The next morning we packed me up, and stopped by Carter’s house on the way to the airport. I just didn’t have the heart to tell him over text or call. As I nervously rang the doorbell I felt my heart sink to my chest. “Hey!” Carter shouted, giving me a quick kiss on the lips “Why didn’t you tell me you were stopping by? I would’ve gotten changed! Come in!” “No” I shook, hugging him tightly “I’m leaving.” “What?” he laughed, having the same reaction as Nancy. “I’m going to Michigan.” I explained still holding him tightly “I need to go to rehab for PTSD…I can’t sleep at night…I can’t even close my eyes without being terrified…I’m scared its going to start changing how I act…I can’t live like this.” I felt tears begin to hit the back of my neck as he realized what it meant “How long will you be gone?” “2 months” I answered, holding him close “I don’t…” “I can come visit…it won’t be that long” he let out, trying to keep his emotions under control “I can…” “I don’t want visitors” I interrupted not letting him go “Only my parents…maybe at some point you can…but I need to do this right…I need to be alone for a while.” “Can I write to you?” he poked, trying to take it all in. “Yeah” I forced out “But I…you should move on.” I exhaled shaking my head “2 months is a long time, and there no guarantee that I’ll…” “Riley no!” he insisted, as tears began to fall faster “What If I’m never the sa…” “Riley! I’m not hearing it!” he yelped “I’ll never leave you…no matter what.” As we broke away and I looked into his eyes I could tell he wasn’t lying “I love you Carter.” “I love you too” he exclaimed, pulling me in one last time. “Don’t let this hurt you.” I pleaded “Your dad said when I went back to the Saints you wouldn’t leave your room…don’t do that again…I’ll be safe…I’ll just be over the lake.” “I wont” he exhaled, as our foreheads met one another “Just come back in time for summer ball…I need a point guard.” “I knew that’s the only reason you put up with me” I teased enjoying just being there with him. We held each other for a few more minutes until finally I had to go. As we pulled away from the house I looked back at the teen on the porch and knew his words weren’t empty. I knew he would be waiting there when I came back…I knew that our love would never fade.
  3. 19 points
    CHAPTER FIVE I was alone for six hours with my thoughts during the train ride. They were a mixed bag of fear and excitement, wariness and hope for a better future. I was taking a giant step toward adulthood and I had no idea what I was doing. But it had to be better than sleeping with a knife under your pillow. As the train car rocked gently back and forth, the clackety-clack of the wheels on the tracks lulled me into a sense of safety. I had been in pure survival mode for days, and I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. My brother had nearly killed me and had he succeeded, I’m sure my mother would have found a way to blame me for it while standing over my grave. I knew leaving home was my only option. I should have never gone back in the first place. I didn’t belong there. I would never fit in. But where did I belong? I had only visited Chicago once before—a day trip with two friends to see a couple of museums. I remembered it being cold and windy. Not exactly homey. But it was a place to start. All I knew for sure was a lot of things needed to fall into place quickly as my meager monies would not last long, and I was determined not to overstay my welcome at Fred’s house. I arrived in downtown Chicago around two in the afternoon. I found an information desk and they directed me to where I could catch the Blue Line subway to O’Hare. Thankfully, the airport was the last stop on the line and I wouldn’t have to pay too much attention to all the names of all the stops in between. The subway was very interesting. It was packed and hot and smelly, but also full of so many different kinds of people. I loved it. I spent the next forty minutes watching people get on and off the train at the various stops, and fantasized about their daily lives. Some of the guys were incredibly hot, and I knew those were the ones who would feature in my upcoming fantasies. I did find myself wondering if any of the guys might be gay. Fred met me as promised at the O’Hare airport terminal, and we beat the rush hour traffic back to his home in Schaumburg. His mother welcomed me warmly, so different from my own, and I was instantly jealous of Fred and what he had. A supportive family, a good job and a beautiful, peaceful home to live in. Simple things mean everything when you have none of them. I shook myself out of the pity party that was brewing and unpacked my clothes in the guest bedroom. Fred told me dinner was at six, so I decided to rest a little beforehand. I was exhausted, physically and emotionally, from the trip. At dinner later, the conversation turned to my looming job search, and Mr. Thompson surprised us all by asking me if I’d be interested in office work. I told him I was open to anything and he said they had a recent opening for an office manager he thought I might be good for. After explaining a little more about it, I was definitely interested. After dinner, he and I headed to his office, which was only fifteen minutes away. He showed me around the small company, described what they did and then told me the starting salary for the open position. I had never made anything more than minimum wage, and this was clearly more—but not by much. “When do I start?” I asked. “How about tomorrow?” he replied. Who knew it could be so easy to find a job? I didn’t even have to go to Goodwill to buy a suit for an interview. The next day, I rode into the office with Mr. Thompson and began my education into accounting and becoming an office manager. Unbeknownst to me, as I was getting my first exposure to debits and credits with Mr. Thompson, his wife was working on her own project. Dinner the second night was take-out, as Mrs. Thompson informed everyone she had had way too much to do to have time to make dinner. The Chinese food she brought to the table was delicious. I gathered home-cooked meals were the norm in the Thompson house—another thing to be jealous of. I couldn’t remember the last time my mother had cooked a full course meal, which was too bad because she had been a pretty good cook. After dinner Mrs. Thompson asked if I would take a ride with her to pick up some dessert for later. I could hardly refuse after all they had done for me in such a short time. We headed out and soon pulled into a large apartment complex. The buildings were nicely painted, the grounds were beautifully landscaped and cared for and there was no trash or junk lying around. “What are we doing here?” I asked. Turning off the car, she said, “I have something to show you. Come on, it’ll only take a minute.” I followed her to one of the apartment buildings and up a flight of stairs to number 2105. Inside, I saw no furniture, but there were a stack of white dishes stacked on the kitchen counter by the sink, a silver metal trash can and some newer-looking pots and pans sitting on an open shelf above the stove. Mrs. Thompson led me down the hallway, past the bathroom with thick brown towels hanging on the racks and into the single bedroom at the rear. On the floor, underneath a double window framed in simple yellow curtains, was a queen size air mattress covered with basic white sheets and a navy blue duvet cover. A white plastic nightstand stood near the head of the bed, holding up a small lamp. Looking around with a smile on her face, she asked, “How does it look?” “I think it’s very nice. But, if you don’t mind my asking, who are we meeting here?” She laughed sweetly and grabbed one of my hands. “No one, honey. This is all for you. You live here now.” My mouth dropped open as something warm and wonderful washed over me. I so did not want to cry in front of her but there was no stopping the tears. As they spilled down my cheeks, I stood there, looking around the apartment, and then back at her, full of questions. Why? Why would someone I barely knew do all this for me? I was nobody to her. Nothing made sense. I tried to speak past the lump in my throat, but she stopped me. “Jack, you don’t need to say anything. I hope I haven’t overstepped. It’s just...my husband and I talked about it, and I know you haven’t always had an easy time of things, and right now you need a little help to get things going right in your life. If you are going to work with my husband, then you need a place to live that you can afford. I knew the rent here would be doable and they rent for six months at a time, so you can always go somewhere else when you have a chance to explore the area a little more. There is a bus stop right inside the complex here and the bus takes you within two blocks of the office. That should work until you can find a car. I went to Wal-Mart and added a few small things to hopefully make it feel a little more like home. I know you didn’t bring anything with you but some clothes. I hope you like it.” I wiped my eyes and face with the bottom of my shirt, took a deep breath, then let it out. “No one has ever done anything like this for me before. Ever. I don’t really know what to say. I appreciate it very much, it all looks perfect. But why me?” She put her hands on my shoulders and looked me straight in the eyes. “Why not you? You are a smart, good-looking, gentle, nice young man who has every right to have a great life. You’ve worked hard in school, been responsible to work and take care of things and you strike me as a diligent sort of person. I think you are well worth investing in, and I wanted to help.” “Well, I will pay you back for everything just as soon as I can.” She laughed, lightly back handing my arm. “Nonsense, you will do nothing of the sort. I won’t accept it. This is not a loan—it’s a gift. Besides, you have to pay your own rent and utilities, so save your hard-earned money for those.” “But I can’t just let you set me up in a home and do nothing in return,” I pleaded. “There must be something I can do to say thank you.” “There is Jack, there is. For the rest of your life, remember someone once cared for you and helped you when you needed it the most. Then go and do the same for as many people as you possibly can. I believe you are a true giver, someone who has an infinite capacity to care for others. Fred told me you were the one who was always there when one of the guys needed something. How you would always share your pizza with someone who didn’t have the money for their own, or how you would always offer to buy gas if someone else was driving you guys somewhere or even how you worked to collect enough money for a bus ticket for Tim when he needed to get home to see his sick father. You made it possible. You even helped the guys who needed tutoring and, according to Fred, you would not accept anything back. He says you’re the reason why he passed calculus in his sophomore year. You just haven’t been taken care of yourself, and right now you are the one who needed a little help. So accept my help humbly, and continue to be you and go discover your life and all the people you will care for in the future.” I smiled, hoping what she was saying was true. I didn’t see myself as a giver, but I was glad she did. She made me sound like the kind of guy I could be proud to be. “I will do my best. I promise.” “I know you will, Jack. Now, here are your keys.” She placed the keys in my hands and closed my fingers around them, giving them a gentle squeeze. “Come on, let’s go get the ice cream for the crew back home, and if you want, you can grab your stuff and come back here tonight. But Jack, you are always welcome in our home. Always.” She hugged me, and I flinched. I tried to hug her back, but I was close to crying again, which was getting embarrassing. I just nodded and took the keys from her. I put my hand in my pocket as if to drop the keys in there, but I held on to them in my closed fist as we walked back out to the car. They felt good in my hand.
  4. 19 points
    I was right. Mom wanted that guy out of his cell and somewhere more comfortable as he healed. Deke wouldn’t let him anywhere near Kraig, and I didn’t want him anywhere near Ritch. Thankfully, Christian stepped up and offered his guest room—and a twenty-four hour guard. It was hard to think past my desire to kill Trein for his trespass against our streak. Against all werekin. Deke was calmer than me. He updated the alphas and the convocation was going ahead that evening as soon as everyone arrived. We’d lost the chance to interrogate the prisoners, but we knew where to find more information. But it would take a concentrated effort to attack another werekin’s clan. It had to be done, but I’d relish it. “Did he think he was going to get away with it?” I asked. Deke had called for every able-bodied member in the streak, not just the guards, to convene at his house. We stood on the porch waiting for them. “Maybe. Not every streak has embraced technology the way we have. The security cameras are well-hidden, and the computer was tucked into the desk. They probably thought Jackie was dead when they knocked her unconscious.” Ritch was silently standing next to me, his arms crossed defensively over his chest. Trein had abused him, used his body, treated him like he was nothing. I ached to make him feel safe, but I wasn’t sure how to do it. Not yet, at least. When Trein and his cronies were dead, then he’d be safe. “Trein doesn’t like technology. His streak is old-fashioned, mostly tradesman jobs and apprenticeships. The girls are married off and then stay home to raise more kids. Most of them don’t own computers or have more than basic TV service.” Ritch shivered. “The strong males take what they want, and the rest of the streak just tries to survive. Most of the time I was kept locked up, but I saw things when Trein paraded me around to show off his superiority.” Deke stiffened. “He did what?” He’d told them part of what he’d endured, but when Deke had questioned Ritch before, he’d focused on what he knew about the doctor and the experiments he’d done, not the life Ritch led among the streak after his own alpha had basically sold him. “He’s a sadistic bastard, but he’s not that smart. I don’t think he’s behind the experiments, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s allied with the people who are. Someone needed muscle, and they went to him.” “If the doctor was in your herd’s territory before, I bet your old alpha was part of it too. This is even more widespread than we feared.” Deke ran a hand over his bristly ruff. “How will we hide an all-out war from the humans?” “I don’t know.” Thankfully, that was going to be Deke’s problem. My problem was finding Trein and taking the bastard down. I was eager to start; I cast a glance over the crowd of murmuring males standing in the yard, locking down on my need to leave immediately. I was the beta, I had responsibility I wouldn’t abandon, no matter how fierce my desire for revent. “Everyone’s here.” Deke stepped up to the edge of the porch. I positioned myself to his left, next to Kraig, but Ritch stayed near the house. I didn’t push him to come closer for now. “We have been attacked, and the loss of two of our streak will be felt keenly.” Deke put a hand on his chest and the link between us throbbed. A terrible storm swept through the males in front of us, sorrow and rage a heavy mix of tension. I watched the crowd as Deke informed them of the impending arrival of the alphas and the upcoming battle we faced, a dark niggling in the back of my head, worry that my father wasn’t alone in his betrayal. “This is the most dangerous threat our society has faced in a very long time. These traitors are angling for power, and they’re not above torturing and killing innocent werekin to get it. Our society needs to change, but not like this. If we don’t stop them now, the risk of humans finding out about us is almost certain.” Deke squared his stance and lifted his chin. “Either outcome is intolerable. The guard will be needed, so a secondary line of defenses will be erected by the remaining able-bodied members of our streak to protect the elderly and vulnerable.” “For how long?” someone asked. “The alphas will make the decision on how to respond to the attack on our streak and the experiments we uncovered. Trein will pay for his trespass. My home is open to those in the outlying areas of the streak’s property. Kraig will remain here and be my voice in my absence.” He swept the crowd with a firm look. “His word is mine.” “Yes, Alpha.” Our streak wasn’t like the others, and Kraig had been raised among everyone. Despite what that bastard had done to him, he was one of us. They wouldn’t reject him, even if he wasn’t the mate of the alpha. “Please keep your phones close. We will send out alerts as soon as we have more information. In the meantime, please be aware of your surroundings and stay safe. Thank you.” They slowly dispersed. We went inside, and Kraig went into the kitchen. He started pulling things out of the fridge. “What are you doing?” Deke asked. “Making stuff for the alphas. Mom isn’t here to do it this time.” “It’s hardly a social occasion,” I scoffed. “They are traveling here from a distance, and the reason is stressful. Tempers will already be short and being hungry and thirsty will only make that worse.” Kraig shot a look over his shoulder. “Any more questions?” Deke and I shook our heads. Kraig went over to the counter. “How can I help?”
  5. 13 points
    There is no easy way to say this, but these last few days have been trying and absolutely overwhelming. I, tried my best, to stay afloat, and go about my business as usual- like hanging out with my friends on GA and joking around with them. But, my god, it felt hollow this week. There is a hole in my heart right now, and everything has simply gotten too much for me to handle. GA no longer felt like my home away from home, so, I faced a grim choice concerning my future on this site; should I leave GA or should I stay? In the end, I've decided to stay. But... I was sorely tempted to wash my hands of this mess and walk away. But the cons outweighed the pros; if I had left, it would mean leaving my friends, friends that for all intents and purposes are my family. And I couldn't bear the thought of doing so. However, staying doesn't unbreak my heart. And so, there will be changes on my part- for the foreseeable future, I am keeping my presence in the Forums to a minimum, and will focus on the thing that originally brought me here- reading great stories. Just remember, I love each and every one of you. And, I promise not to disappear entirely on you all. -Drew
  6. 13 points
    Journal entry 20: I started spending the night at Michael’s house when we were young pups; I think I was in first grade at the time. It was always the same even from my earliest memories of it. When his parents where around or if they checked on us, he was always the model son; polite, respectful and friendly. When they were out of ear shot, he usually turned into an ass in whatever game we were playing and always reminding me that “His Dad” is the Alpha. If we were playing a video game and I started winning, he would turn it off rather than risk losing. If it was a board game, he would either cheat or just flip the board if I got ahead. If his parents saw the game board on the floor, he would innocently blame me for getting upset that I was losing. I complained to my mom a few times early on, but she encouraged me to just put up with it since she liked that I was friends with the Alpha’s son and he was always such a nice boy. It did boosted Mom and Dad’s standing in the pack some since we all got invited over regularly for dinner with the Alpha pair as well as other social events. I really don’t think that the added status is why she encouraged it; she really did think he was the nice and sweet boy he projected publicly as the perfect little angle that was expected from parents like the Stockdale’s. I can’t fault Mom and Dad since they really didn’t know how bad it really was. If he spent the night at my house, which happened less since our house wasn’t as nice as the Alpha’s, if he lost a few times in a video game, he would sometimes grab his stuff and just go home. He usually told his parents that I had gotten in trouble and couldn’t have a friend stay the night. I don’t know if Alpha or Mrs. Stockdale every checked with my parents on those occasions he went home, but he’d rather leave than lose. At my house he couldn’t throw as much of a fit as he could at his house without risking getting in trouble and I know Mom did call Mrs. Stockdale once when she saw or caught something that he did; Michael didn’t like Mom much after that. I think that is the main reason I usually went to his house. He was more in control of things there. It was his home territory and he could do as he pleased or knew more how not to get caught. His parents were watchful and did keep an eye on us, more so when we were younger, but he always knew when and how he could get away with doing something behind their backs. It didn’t take long to learn that A) Michael has to win no matter what, B ) it’s Michael’s way or he’d take his ball and wouldn’t play, and finally C) if he could lay the blame for something he did on me or someone else, he’d do it in a heartbeat. For all the times he was an ass towards me, he seemed to be a good friend at other times; I can only describe it now as fire and ice in the way he acted. At least he came across as what I thought at the time a friend should be. I think now that it was just to keep me in line and I was too stupid to realize it. He told me more than once how lucky I was to be the best friend of the Alpha’s son; the best friend of the future Alpha. He also reminded me often enough that as the Alpha’s son, he could have anyone he wanted as his best friend. I always took that as a not so veiled threat that I could easily be replaced if I didn’t toe the line with him. He did get real mad at me the one time I mentioned that he couldn’t have the Beta’s son as his best friend; that was when Aiden’s dad was the pack Beta. It was over two weeks that he wouldn’t talk to me since I pointed out something that he “couldn’t have”. After a couple years, Michael apparently had me sufficiently trained to how he wanted me to act that he switched from subtle threats to manipulation. I’m pretty sure he had always been manipulating me, but there were no longer any mention of how lucky I was to be his best friend. Instead, he would goad me into doing things he wanted. Sometimes by simple suggestion, others by joking I wasn’t brave enough. Pressure from your closest friend and peer can be powerful, especially when he’s a world class manipulator. Another thing about spending the night with Michael is that he talks in his sleep; he’s done it for as long as I can remember. I used to just try and block it out in the earlier years of sleepovers since it was stupid stuff from school and things like that. More than anything, it was annoying since it was just loud enough to keep me awake if I wasn’t already asleep. It was more mumbling than anything, but sometimes if I was awake I could make out a few things. Aiden came up a lot over the years; it started with him grumbling about one of their fights or something like that. It seemed like it was just bits and pieces that I’d hear. As time went on, it would change from mumbling about getting his ass beat or how much he hated Aiden and became drastically different from what he said while awake, especially in the last couple years of our friendship. Yeah, I still spent the night at his house even in our senior year of high school. Looking back on things now and I know I suspected even then; I think in some way or fashion, Michael wanted Aiden for himself. For all the bluster about hating Aiden and that he saw him as a threat, maybe the real threat was Ethan. It is all just suspicions from a whisper here and a moan there. For years I thought I was just hearing things or at least tried to force myself to believe I was. If I heard things the way I thought and pieced them together correctly, Michael wanted to have Aiden at his side. Maybe to have a powerful wolf with him to make himself feel strong, possibly as his mate, but who knows for sure. It would make sense with the times that Michael was getting gang banged or just me having a go at him and being sure I was hearing him faintly moan Aiden’s name, he was wishing it was Aiden using him. I think I tried to block it out partially because I hated Aiden and knew he would never go for it; I mean Aiden disliked Michael as much as Michael professed to hate Aiden. For all I know, he could have moaned Aiden’s name just to make me last longer or go extra rough on him; it’s not easy keeping it going when you hear your enemy’s name moaned by the guy your pounding. I also use to wonder if by some extreme miracle they did get together, what would that mean for my future position in the pack. Would I just get tossed aside and replaced as a possible future Beta by Aiden becoming both his mate and Beta? Since I’ve been away from Michael’s influence, I have been wondering more and more. Was all of this; the attacks on Ethan, the years of fighting Aiden, always being told to hate and stand against Aiden, all because Michael really thought they should be together? It almost sounds like an elaborate mating dance now; like Michael was trying to push Aiden to the point of forcefully claiming him. Michael use to talk about this she-wolf or that one being hot and how she would give him lots of strong pups, but he never really talked about becoming mates with any of them or even finding his mate. Their only use to him was in providing pups to carry on his family name and give an heir to the Stockdale legacy. Michael liked power and anything associated with it and even I will admit that Aiden was/is powerful. I was obsessed with power to, at least the power that would come from being Beta of a large and powerful pack; from being the closest and most trusted advisor to my Alpha. The illusion of power and my obsession with it was never my original thought though, it was one of those seeds planted by Michael and cultivated over the years until I believed it was my own thought. I guess it would explain a few things like what Michael did on the camping trip when he found that Aiden was hanging around a human. Aiden was showing interest in someone that was unknown to the pack; an outsider that was a threat to Michael’s future plans. Even if Michael knew that he and Aiden weren’t mates, he might have thought that they could somehow bond, but it doesn’t make sense of that happening the way they acted towards one another. Still, Michael was continually challenging Aiden; anything from a stare to sometimes a physical confrontation and lost every time. Michael always talked about using domination against others and as long as no one knew, he liked being sexually dominated by us. Maybe he challenged Aiden for the thrill of having Aiden dominate him. I now realize that nothing Michael did was rational so who knows and trying to figure it out is just give me a headache. All of this is a lot of supposition that I will never have answers for, but it gives me some possibilities for why things might have happened. I’m kind of at the point where I’m grasping at straws to try and understand what happened when in reality I know these things will never be answered. Even without answers, just asking the questions kind of makes me feel better. Now I’m going to be asking myself if the plan to rape and kill Ethan was Michael’s way of destabilizing a rival in Aiden or eliminating a rival that was blocking him from having Aiden.
  7. 12 points
    *Disclaimer: This story will discuss the topic of mental illness, addiction and suicide. That is not to say this is a dark tragedy, however it is not for someone who is in a bad place, and may be triggered by such writing. This story will also contain alcohol and drug use. Reader Discretion is advised.* ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You know that end of school feeling? The one you can feel in your bones? The one that seems to jump up and down the longer and longer the sun stays in the sky? With a week until freedom, that’s the feeling going all over Hudson High, and you better believe that I’m the one leading the charge! My name is Teddy Haner and in addition to being the school president, I’m also the captain of the lacrosse team…so I guess in a way it’s my responsibility to make sure everyone’s ready! I’m not sure how I got those titles, but I’ve always just clicked with people. Some tell me I’m easy to talk to, while others say it’s because of my looks…I wish I could say it was because I’m a star athlete…but I’m not even good at lacrosse! In fact sometimes I wonder how I even make the team! Hell the only reason I’m the captain is because coach claims I’m a good leader! “Hey Teddy!” A faceless voice shouted out from the lunchroom rush “Party for Saturday is still on right?” “Why wouldn’t it be?” I laughed, not even knowing who I was responding to “Last Saturday of the school year…you guys know where to be!” I heard a few cheers cry out as I finally made it to my lunch table “Alright guys, we really need this year to be good…did you just here that?” I let out, trying to rally up my friends “That’s been happening since Easter!” I heard a long groan escape from the other side of the table as a darkly dressed blonde haired teen heard my words “Not again with this crap!” he exhaled “Every year you drive us up the fricken wall trying to prepare, and every year it goes great.” “Yeah, because we prepare so well!” I encouraged, staring him down. “No” A female voice interrupted from next to me “Because all you need for a good high school party is people, beer and music…and you already have all that covered.” “Actually Mike has the beer covered” I nodded at the big outline to my other side “Ain’t that right?” “Sure” he groaned barely awake “I can get us kegs or some shit.” “Come on!” I yelped, starting to snap in his face “I need you awake and on board here!” “Holy crap, in another second I’m going to punch you so hard that you’re in a coma during the party!” he yelped clearly exhausted “Blake, Liz…please, distract him or something!” “6 am baseball lifts finally catching up with you?” I giggled, starting to go on the offensive. “Yup” he slowly nodded “and so help me god Haner, if you even think about pushing my buttons today…” “Me?” I innocently laughed “I would never push anyone’s buttons!” “Yeah” Blake muttered with a quick roll of his eyes “Teddy doesn’t ever do anything wrong…he’s perfect remember?” “I am not perfect…” I shrugged, trying to fight off a smile “Well you might not think so…” Liz interrupted, supporting the oncoming attack “but everyone in this damn school does.” “No they don’t” I dismissed with a quick shake of my head. “Oh yeah?” Mike poked, starting to gain a second wind “Who here think’s Teddy Haner is perfect?” he boomed across the whole room. A few kids sarcastically cheered, while the lacrosse table jumped up and shouted, as other slowly yelled my name “I love you Teddy!” A random female screamed, as the cafeteria began to ring out in laughter “Love you too whoever you are!” I shouted back, enjoying the moment. Remember that one kid from your school who everyone loved? The one everyone could talk to, or joke around with? Well in a way that’s me! Not that I’m insanely popular or anything…I mean I’ve hung out with the same 3 people my whole life! I guess between school president and lacrosse…I’ve just been able to meet A LOT of people. “Mike and Teddy” a nearby teacher called out “It’s the last week of school, do you both really want detentions?” “Please give Teddy a detention!” Mike yelped, looking up at the teacher “Please! I don’t think his perfect record could take it!” “Sorry about him Mrs. W” I quickly apologized “He’s just tired.” “Just make sure he behaves” she warned with a smile “I swear I’m going to retire before your class becomes seniors…you’re all going to be terrible!” “Yeah Teddy!” Mike shouted “You’re going to be terrible!” “Why am I friends with any of you?” Blake muttered, having had enough of all the attention “I got a nerd, a jock and whatever the hell Liz is.” “Hey!” she shouted back “And what are you?” “He’s a loser” Mike teased with a smile “and your friends with us, because you wouldn’t be able to make any others!” “Oh yeah then why are you still friends with us?” I prodded, elbowing him in the side “Because I’ve invested too much time in this sad group to leave now” He proudly explained with a smile “I’m the clean-up hitter for the baseball team, I could be with them all the time if I really wanted.” “Except then they would realize what an insufferable douche you are!” I playfully teased. I hate to admit it, but we are a weird group…I mean we just have so little in common, and yet over the years our bond has grown too strong to ever fade. Blake listens to music all day, Liz watches movies or tv, I work on school events, and Mike plays baseball…yet we all get along so well…it doesn’t matter what combination, or who’s alone with who…we all just click. “I’m not a douche!” He defended, as we all turned and shot him skeptical looks “Would a douche do this?” he laughed, turning around and slamming books out of a scrawny figure’s hands “Oh what happened Ryder? Books too heavy for your faggot ass.” “This is exactly what a douche would do!” I laughed, getting out of my seat and helping the student to get his things back together “Oh cool.” I reached out, as I picked up a thick black book “Edgar Allen Poe, he’s like…” “Cut the shit Teddy” the scrawny teen wearing skinny jeans, a band shirt and thick black hair spit, snatching the book from my hands “I don’t need your sympathy.” “It’s not like that.” I tried to comfort, pulling another chair to the table “Come on…Ryder, right? Join us for lunch, you know Blake…” “No” he bit, forcing his head back down and quickly walking towards the door. “Good job Mike” I sneered, shooting him a dirty look. “Oh no! I messed with the one person in the whole school who doesn’t like you!” Mike teased, not actually caring “Who are you going to hang out with now?” “It’s not about being liked” I exhaled” Its about treating people right, and could you cut it with the F word? You know I hate it.” “Oh please” he dismissed “Just because your gay doesn’t mean you have to get all offended at every bad word I use.” “I think I have a right to get offended at that word.” I corrected, turning towards Blake “You guys are close, have him come to my party Saturday.” “One, we’re just friendly, not close, and two, there’s no way he comes” Blake groaned, not even bothering to look up “The only time he ever leaves his house is to play with his band and go to school.” Mike childishly giggled and shook his head “That kid’s just asking to get beat up…what a freaking loser.” “Mike” Liz exhaled, beginning to roll her eyes. “He is!” Mike continued, not even trying to stop his laughter “Keep the weird shit you do to yourself…you know I hear he lives in a graveyard?” “Don’t start rumors” I dismissed, beginning to shake my head “and he is keeping it to himself, you’re the one dragging him into conversations.” “Oh I’m Teddy, I stand up for people!” Mike mimicked, making me regret waking him up “and I didn’t just come up with that…Blake…” “Don’t talk to me” Blake mumbled, still not looking up “No come on man…” Mike continued anyway “He totally lives in a graveyard doesn’t he?” “I don’t know” Blake groaned finally looking up “What am I? His freakin keeper?” I shrugged my shoulders as our eyes connected “You might as well be…you’re the only person in this school I’ve ever seen talk to him.” “Because everyone around here is a judgmental prick.” Blake began, starting up one of his “fuck the system” speeches “Everyone only cares about themselves, or about their popularity…Ryder’s not like that…he just wants to be left alone with his music.” “Yeah well get him to come to the party!” I encouraged as the bell rang “And if he gives you a problem, just tell me!” “He’s not going to…” “Get it done!” I shouted, standing up and heading off into the crowd. I mean am I so crazy for wanting everyone in my school to feel included? I know I can come across as annoying sometimes…but I just don’t want to hear that someone from my school ever felt left out…I don’t want anyone here to feel bullied. I know, that’s a tall order to fill, but these students here…they’re not like other schools, most of us have been together since kindergarten, we all know each other in some way shape or form…Ryder Sullivan included. They’ll rise to the occasion, if they all get to know him…if he starts to joke around with the people at the party…then suddenly there’s one more happy face around Hudson high, instead of the normal angry face he loves to wear. “Teddy!” I heard Blake’s voice call out from down the hall as the last bell rang “He’s not cooperating.” “No! Blake! What the hell are you doing?!” I heard an angry voice respond, as I turned to see an unwilling Ryder being dragged over by Blake “Teddy can be obnoxious, and preppy, and he makes me throw up in my mouth at least once an hour…” Blake explained, finally reaching me “but trust me, he’s cool.” “Jesus Blake!” I yelped, as he forced Ryder in front of me “I said tell me if he says no! Not bring him to me!” “Yeah? Well I got creative” Blake shrugged beginning to walk away “Now you two play nice.” “What the hell Blake?” Ryder angrily exclaimed, staring a hole in his back as he turned away “I thought we were friends?!” “That’s why I’m doing this!” Blake responded, turning the corner. “So Mr. Sullivan…” I began, flashing him a friendly smile. “Forget it Teddy” Ryder dismissed, beginning to walk away “I don’t want to talk to you, I don’t want to be your friend…hell I didn’t even vote for you in the fall, and I’m not going to vote for you next fall!” “ouch” I laughed, quickly catching up to him “Why don’t you want to come Saturday? Everyone’s going to be there!” “Because everybody’s going to be there.” He repeated, finally reaching his locker “I don’t like big parties or crowds, I don’t like…” “But you play music in a band right?” I poked, trying to start a deeper conversation “You’ll have to get used to crowds eventually.” “Alright goodbye.” he growled, slamming his locker, and starting to walk away once more. “What?” I shook, having to catch up to him for the second time “I’m just saying…” “Yeah I get it” he cut off, not even bothering to listen “It’s really fun to laugh at the kid in the band, I fully…” “It’s not like that” I interrupted, lightly grabbing onto his arm “I wasn’t making fun of you, I was just trying to talk to you…how about this…you show up Saturday, and I won’t talk to you at all for the rest of your life.” “For the rest of my life?” he repeated, trying not to laugh at the ridiculous offer. I let go of him and softly nodded my head “Only if I have to warn you about a fire, or a rabid dog.” “Blake will be there?” he exhaled, finally budging slightly. “Oh yeah” I nodded, as he turned back around “Everyone will be there…and if you’re worried you’ll be made fun of, trust me, you won’t be…not at my party.” “What are they perfect, just like you?” he rolled his eyes, pushing against the door with his back, as we got the first glimpse of real sunlight all day. “Why does everyone say that?” I laughed, relieved I could finally get a conversation going “I’m not perfect” “No you’re not” he jabbed, looking back down “but you sure as hell think you are.” I made a face and tried to force his eyes back to mine “Why do you say that?” “Why’d you laugh when that dickhead Mike hit my books?” he shrugged, still not looking at me “You think you’re so above everyone else…that you’re not a bully, but you’re just like them…maybe even worse because of how ignorant you are to it.” I stood there as his words hit me…why did I laugh? Do I always laugh at stuff like that? Have I been a bully this whole time and not noticed it? “Wait Ryder!” I called out as he quickly slipped off into the parking lot. “I’ll talk to you again Saturday” he dismissed, not even turning around “Then never again!” “Then never again” I repeated in a sigh, as I headed back into the building. “So!” Blake assaulted, turning around the corner “How’d it go?” “Have you been waiting for me this whole time?” I grumbled, taking a good look at him. “Yup!” he giggled “No way I was sticking around to get yelled at by Ryder…he’s kind of scary.” “He’s not scary” I corrected with a shake of my head “He’s just…honest, and people don’t always like to be told the truth. “So what truth did he tell to you?” Blake poked with a devious smile. I rolled my eyes and pushed past him “Oh he totally roasted you!” “Did not” I dismissed, finally reaching my locker “At least I got him to come Saturday, no thanks to you!” Blake gave me a light shove from behind before he disappeared into the growing crowd. Thinking back on it…how many times did I laugh at someone in trouble? How many times did I make fun of someone without realizing it? This whole time I thought I was better than that, I thought I was above it…but I guess I wasn’t. The thought seemed to haunt me more and more and the week went by. “Come on” My dad encouraged with a smile as I packed my bag for the last day of school “Summer starts tomorrow! You should be jumping up for joy!” I swayed my head back and forth “I just have a lot on my mind I guess.” “Like what?” he poked, pulling over the ottoman and taking a seat. “I just…this whole time I thought I was preventing bullying, but there have been times when I’ve only fed it.” I shook, really putting thought into it “I’m just disappointed in myself I guess.” My father reached out and rested his hand on my shoulder “Theodore Zachary Haner, you are human, you’ve messed up before, and you’ll probably mess up again, that’s just the burden of existence.” Our eyes met and a soft smile began on his face “I can’t talk about the times you’ve been a bully, but I’ve seen you help more people than I’ve seen you hurt, and that’s a pretty good track record.” “Still not good enough.” I mumbled to myself. “Then change it.” My dad gently laughed “Next year is a whole new year! Hell this summer is a whole new summer! The first step to fixing a problem is seeing there’s one in the first place.” “What’s going on in here?” My mom smiled, walking into the living room “Having a family meeting without me?” “Our son just realized he’s human.” My dad laughed, looking over at his wife. “Ahh” she nodded “So the youthful immortality has finally worn off.” She teased “Well the good news is you’re a great human Teddy, and you’ve been blessed with your father’s good looks.” “Yes he has been” My dad proudly nodded “I cleaned up with all the women in my day, and this one will clean up with all the men.” “DAD!” I blurted out, as my face began to burn up in a blush. “What?” he laughed looking from my mom to me “I’m being supportive, you should be thanking me for your looks!” My mom rolled her eyes and shook her head “All the women huh?” “Wait no” he quickly panicked, realizing the trap he had set for himself “I was just…you told me I need to be more openly supportive of his sexuality…that’s all I was doing.” “Gee thanks dad” I grumbled, looking to the ground. “I ugh…this is really backfiring in all directions isn’t it?” he nervously laughed “Look, I love you, you’re a good kid, you’ll figure it out, and best of all you’re mature enough to let me and your mother go away for the weekend!” My mom let out a long groan and headed towards the stairs “That trip is going to get cancelled real quick if you don’t watch yourself Harrison.” “Being gay must be such a gift.” He teased, getting up and chasing my mom up the stairs. They’re corny, and cliché…but they’re my parents, and honestly I couldn’t ask for better support. They accept me for everything I do…no matter what. I nodded to myself and laughed, why am I pouting? Tomorrow’s the last day of school! Next years a new year, this summers a new summer…and tomorrows a new day…I’ll show Ryder I’m not a bully, and I’ll give him the time of his damn life!
  8. 10 points
    I couldn’t help but watch the young kid fidget in his chair as Nancy and Walter went over what it was going to be like to testify against Ro. No kid should ever have to see what he saw…to see what either of us saw at that age, but the world is a cold place. We have to make justice happen for us, and even then there will people like Brock Avery there to try and rip you back down…but I’ve come too damn far to get ripped down. No matter what I have to do, or what I have to say…Tak will be a part of this family. I saw Walter nod to Nancy as she led Tak upstairs to get ready for bed “Riley...” Walter began in a sigh “Me and your mother are worried that this whole thing, everything with the Saints trial, And the Averys…we’re worried it’s teaching you the wrong thing.” “What do you mean?” I poked, having a faint hint of the answer, but wanting him to say it. “We’re worried that it’s going to make you cynical.” He exhaled keeping our eyes connected “What you did for Owen…as much as it terrified me and your mother…you’re a hero Riley.” “I don’t feel like one” I shook, hitting him with honestly “I don’t feel…good” Walter stood up, and lightly grabbed me by the shoulders “Good isn’t something we feel, it’s something we are.” I looked up to him not fully understanding “From now on you’ll never be satisfied with how things play out, you’ll always see a better end…that things could’ve been perfect, but life isn’t perfect.” He explained “And things never work out perfectly. In the end life will always take something from us to balance it out…but men like you, no matter how much life fights back…you have to fight to upset that balance, to always keep it weighing towards good.” “What if it costs me my mind?” I breathed, as my eyes drifted away. “I suppose that’s the cost of carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders” Walter nodded, as his grip turned into a supportive pat “Once this is all over, once Ro is in jail, and Tak is adopted…it’ll all feel better.” “And if it doesn’t?” I gulped, still worried I could never be the same. “Then we’ll fight to make it better.” He smiled, ruffling my hair “I don’t care if we have to take you to every doctor in the U.S. …we’ll make sure you’re happy.” I slowly nodded my head as he headed back towards the stairs “Good night Riley” “Good night dad” I exhaled, getting up and following him up the stairs. I shook my head as I had to push past a small body just to get into my room “What Tak?” I groaned, just wanting to go to bed without any more talking. “Are you scared about tomorrow?” he poked keeping his eyes on me “I’m not, I’m going to say everything that happened.” “That’s great Tak.” I muttered, just trying to get my stuff together. “Little brothers can get annoying, can’t they?” Aaron teased, with a growing smile. I looked to him and shook my head “Not as much as older brothers.” “Well aren you excited Riley?” Tak innocently asked, trying any which way to get a conversation started “We get to put Ro in…” “No” I interrupted, sitting down and staring at him “I never want to see Ro again….we shouldn’t have to go to court and testify against him, they should have more than enough evidence to lock him up without…” “You’re worried they don’t.” Aaron interrupted, thinking out loud “They’ll find a way to lock him away.” He reassured “Fuck that” I mumbled “I’d much rather see the death penalty.” “There are little ears around!” Nancy shouted as she walked by and overheard the conversation. I rolled my eyes and tried to look down the hallway “This kid was selling drugs bout a week ago! I think he’s heard the F word before!” “I know you’re not talking back right now!” she quickly responded, shutting down the conversation before it could start. “Just don’t do anything stupid” Aaron exhaled seeing the hate flashing in my eyes “Let the courts and police handle him…justice will be served.” I shook my head and laid back in my bed “Good night Tak.” I spit trying to get him to go to his own room. “Well…” he began, nervously standing in the door “I was thinkin…can I sleep in here tonight?” “No” I reject, turning onto my side. I knew by the lack of response from Aaron that Tak was trying to work his magic on him. “I guess” Aaron finally breathed. “Aaron!” I yelped, sitting back up “You too soft! And Tak, you said you wasn’t scared, why you wanna sleep in here?” “I’m not scared but I’m nervous” he shrugged as though I should’ve known “I wanna be near you guys.” “He’s sleeping with you two tonight.” Nancy weighed in from down the hall. “Mom!” I shouted “Stop listenin in on us!” “Shut your door then!” She fought back, still out of sight. I waived for Tak to do as she said and turned to Aaron “He’s sleepin with you.” “Nope” Aaron shook, stretching out “You two are the smallest, so you’re in the same bed.” “I swear to god Aaron, in another second they gonna have to put me in jail.” I warned, starting to stare him down. “Please Riley.” Tak pleaded in a young voice, slowly approaching “You know what it was like…” “Alright” I cut off, moving closer to the wall “but stay on your side, and if you kick me I’m throwin you off the damn bed.” He excitedly nodded, and jumped into the twin sized bed “and cut off the cute shit, it’s getting annoyin.” “I don’t know what you talkin bout” Tak teased, knowing damn well what he had been doing. Just like all the other nights since I got home…I spent it staring at the ceiling. It seems like the only times I can ever really relax are on the court, or with Carter. I mean sure, I’d eventually pass out, but I’d almost always wake up a few hours later in full on panic mode. A few weeks ago I would do anything to get rid of my nightmares…but lately I would do anything to just get back to that place! Finally as the sun began to rise Nancy slowly made her way into our room to come get us “Aww Walter come here!” she whispered, not knowing I was awake “Tak and Riley…” “No” I grumbled, trying to sit up “You finish that sentence and I swear to god…” “Alright alright” she giggled “Someone’s cranky this morning.” That morning was like slow motions. My nerves seemed to consistently shake and jump as thoughts of the court room flashed in my mind. Even worse it seemed like flash backs of the worst things that had been done to me kept playing in my mind. I just couldn’t shake it…couldn’t escape it. As we finally walked into the courtroom I don’t know if I was relieved or worried to see Carter there. I mean security was really tight, and only certain people were allowed in, but what if a high profile gang member saw him…what if Ro had something planned…what if Carter hears my stories and grows scared of me. As we sat alone and started to talk about the day ahead, I couldn’t help but notice Nancy watching us. She said something to Mr. Williams, and before I know it Mr. Williams was waving me over to a quiet corner. “What does he want?” I groaned, throwing my head back. “Hey that’s still my dad” Carter giggled “He just wants to help make sure you know what to say. This is a big case for the both of you…his term is almost up, and ending the saints…that’s assured reelection.” “Then I’m glad I could help” I teased, getting up and walking over to the secluded corner “Mr. Williams, my parents went over everythin a thousand times, I know exactly what…” “That’s not what I want to talk to you about.” He exhaled, looking over to Carter than back to me “and please stand up straight and talk properly up on the stand.” I rolled my eyes, and slowly began to tune him out “I want to talk about you and my son…” he began, instantly bringing my attention back “If you want to be with him, this has to be your last stunt in the Southside.” “What are you…” “Cy” Mr. Williams sternly let out “Let’s not play games. Carter could barely leave his room when you left…I don’t want to see him go through that again. You have to make a decision. After today, you’re going to put this all behind you, or you’re going to stop dating my son.” “I’m not dating your son.” I nervously shook “And what do you mean, put this all behind me?” He tilted his head and gave me a skeptical look “I mean stop stealing, stop fighting…act the way your parents tell me you can, and the way you’ve shown us you can.” He exhaled a deep breath and looked back to his son “I’ve heard a lot about you…that you can get away with anything, but for whatever reason when it comes to my son…you couldn’t be more obvious. Always hanging around the openly gay kid, whispering, giggling, pushing each other….the kids at your school might be oblivious to it, but to any mature person watching…it’s clear.” “So what…” I let out “You gonna put a stop to us.” “Not if I don’t have to.” He admitted looking at me “Look, no one wants to see their kid date someone with your past…but over these past few weeks you’ve done a good job of proving it’s just your past. I don’t think you’re good enough for my son, because no one is good enough for my son, but you might just be the closest I ever see.” He exhaled “Love as strong as you two have found is not only extremely hard to hide, it’s also extremely hard to stop, but if you put yourself and my son in danger…I will find a way.” “So you like me.” I smirked, holding my head high. “No, I didn’t…” “You like me.” I repeated, staring him down “Cy, don’t you dare twist me words…” I nodded my head and began to walk away “It’s all cool, it’s nice having you boyfriends dad’s approval.” “Cy!” he sternly let out, trying to get me to stop. Carter shot me a curious look as I sat back down next to him “What was that about?” “I jus got your father’s blessing” I shrugged, leaning back “Our parents are onto us.” “You’re joking.” He smiled, not sure what to think. “Nope” I shook “He said were too obvious.” Carter thought it over but shook his head “What?” “Go ask him.” I shrugged with a smile “he likes me now.” Carter glare grew a little more skeptical as he heard my words “Okay maybe not that, but he knows…and by the way Nancy is starin at us…I think they know too.” “So are you going to talk to them about it?” he poked, with a supportive smile. “No” I shook, watching the judge take a seat “not until all of this shit is over anyway.” He went to speak, but the judge told everyone to find their seats before he could. Before I knew it I was sitting in the front row, family next to me, Carter behind me…and Ro across the room. I’ve never wanted them to be in the same room as him…to even see him…but this will be the last time it ever happens…the last time Ro is anywhere without a prison suit on. An hour or two of constant debate seemed to pass until finally Tak was called to the stand…honestly, I don’t even know why they had to call him…everything was going fine, why drag an 11 year old into this? Why risk hurting him more than Ro already has? The prosecution went pretty easy on him, but the defense grilled him in any effort to earn a light side of Ro. They hit him hard on his birth family, where he grew up...they tried to paint Ro as someone who was taking in kids to help them…to give them a home, and gang war…well that was how he was able to finance it. They said it’s twisted, and wrong, but years of the trauma that Ro has seen can do that to a person…I mean the trauma Ro has seen…what about the trauma kids like me and Tak have seen?! When it was finally my chance to take the stand I couldn’t help but bring in the same fire that had started as I sat there. “Can you tell us your relationship with Ro Martinez?” The prosecutor asked, looking me in the eyes, knowing I had been preparing for that question for weeks. “He was my shot caller back in the Saints…” I began, looking off into the crowd…too scared to actually look at Ro “He recruited me when I was about 10, and taught me gang life…” “Can you elaborate on “taught you gang life”?” The prosecutor, interrupted, connecting eyes with me. “Objection! Leading the witness!” One of the defense lawyer cried out, seeing the threat I represented. “overruled” the judge dismissed, wanting the jury to hear what I had to say. “He taught me how to be a gangster…” I began, suddenly wishing Carter wasn’t in the crowd “How to measure out crystal meth, how to price a woman, how to pimp a woman…how to beat a woman” I felt my eyes hit the floor as I realized the weight of my words “how to lie, how to shoot a gun, how to stab someone, how to make someone scared…how to hold a city hostage in fear.” “What do you mean by that last part?” The lawyer continued, feeling the effect of my words spread through the jury “To hold a city hostage in fear?” “When I was a Saint…the Southside was terrified of me…if some of you are from there, you’ve heard of me.” I let out looking at the jury “He’s who taught me how to be so scary…he’s who taught me to torture people, to carve them up with a knife, to burn them with fire…everythin.” I gulped, sparing the court room the details. “Where there any time he introduced you to illegal substances?” The prosecutor continued, seeing the nail I was driving into Ro’s coffin. I slowly nodded my head “When I was younger what I did would keep me awake...or I wouldn want to do it...he would give me weed or alcohol to help me sleep or give me motivation to do stuff.” “And has that carried over into your life outside of the saints?” Once more I nodded my head and looked over to the jury “I don’t sleep anymore…all I see is the stuff I did…or even worse, the times Ro beat me. What you see on my face, that’s just the beginnin…my chest…” I paused, having to force out the rest of my words “there ain’t a part of it that doesn’t have a scar.” “Objection!” the defense team shouted once more “Inflammation!” “Sustained” the judge accepted, looking towards the prosecutor, who happily wrapped up having finished what he needed me to say. “When you say he recruited you, did you go to him, or did he go to you?” the defense team asked, as they began with their questions. “Both” I answered, looking at the new lawyer “He tried to recruit me cause I can climb, I said no…but I wound up havin to join anyway.” “And you had to join because you had been orphaned, stabbed, and needed a new home?” The lawyer poked as his plan started to take from. “Objection” the prosecutor called out “Leading the witness.” “Sustained” the judge nodded…but what did it matter…he said the point he needed to, it’s not like the jury can unhear it. “Would you say Ro welcomed you in when no one else would?” the defending lawyer prodded, forcing eye contact with me. “No” I shook quickly denying it “Try and paint that picture all you want, but I wasn’t a helpless kid…I was a thief…I coulda survived on my own…” “So then Ro didn’t make you into the threat you were?” The lawyer quickly pressured before I could finish my statement. “He did” I argued, starting to grow irritated “I was just a thief back then…he turned me into a gangster. I didn’t even know woman could be sold before I met him.” “What we have here is the case of a very angry teen, who’s looking to pin the blame on someone else because he’s too immature to take on the responsibility of his own actions…” the defending lawyer began, as the prosecution team began to scream out different objections “This kid was dangerous on his own right, eager to make his own name…the defendant had nothing to do with his notoriously brutal behavior.” “Objection!” The prosecutor finally screamed loud enough to stop the defending lawyer from talking “Argumentative! I’m not going to sit here and watch this aggressive behavior towards my witness!” “Sustained.” the judge nodded “Watch your speech to the witness, or you will be removed.” The Judge grunted towards the defense team “I remind the jury that Riley Walker is 16 years old, and has been recorded in gang life since 11. If he possesses the ability to make his own choices without outside influences…that is your conclusion to make.” “Sorry your honor” the defense lawyer smiled, knowing he had at least taken a bit of my credit down with him “My last question for you, Mr. Walker. Is it true that your father David Walker is imprisoned for murder?” Once more the prosecution began to scream “Perhaps your actions were not taught, but were hereditary.” “Objection!” “Sustained” the judge waived before the prosecutor could even finish “Mr. Walker please take your seat. I will not let this case become a joke…” the judge warned, as I left the stand and began to walk back to my family “And I will not let a 16 year old get dragged into the mud just so the defense can try and make points.” For the first time all day my eyes met Ro’s…instead of backing down like I thought I would…instead of being scared…I kept my eyes on his and held my head high. I wanted him to know that I was proud of what I had just done…that despite his best attempts, he didn’t scare me…he had tried to raise me not to talk to cops, or to ever take the stand against any brother…but he’s not my brother…he was an abusive adult in my life...and I’ll be damned before I let him get any more say in it. The stare down seemed to radiate through the court as even members of the jury watched it. Mentor vs student, shotcaller vs lieutenant…Ro vs Riley. Another hour or two passed of court and deliberation before the Jury finally had their answer. Through it all my family and Carter did their best to support me…to help me and Tak relax in what we had said...but I wish they had never seen that side of me…I wish I could keep everything I used to do in the dark, in a place they could never see. When I first got here I used to scream my crimes from the rooftops…its funny how things change. The court room grew eerily quiet as the jury made their way back into it. “Has the jury reached an answer?” The judge asked, ready to call it a day “We the jury find Ro Martinez guilty of all counts” The foreman read off “And sentence him to life in prison.” I felt my family begin to jump with excitement…but me…the kid who has the most to celebrate…well I still couldn’t find happiness in it. “Before Mr. Martinez is removed” The judge began “I would like to give Riley Walker or Takbir Mohammad the chance to confront him. A lot of people suffered at the hands of Mr. Martinez, and undoubtedly these 2 make up a fraction of those people.” I looked to Tak, but he shook his head no…I could tell it was too much for him…too much for someone so young. I held my head high and slowly walked out of the small bench and up to the prosecution mic, right near Ro. “Since I was a kid, you’ve tried to control me…” I began as I locked eyes with him “You beat me mercilessly, cut me, tattooed me, branded me and did everythin in your power to keep me under your foot. You forced me to drink and smoke when I was too young to know what it all meant, and taught me to use anger to solve my problems. Worst of all, you tried to tell me you would be the only person who ever had any use for me…you told me you would be the only person who ever needed me.” I smirked, keeping my eyes on his “But that’s where you crossed the line. You buried me...you had no idea I was a seed. You let me get arrested, you let them take me away, so that you could walk free. Thank you for that.” I let out as my smirk grew into a smile “If you didn do that I would’ve died another gang member, but by letting me get arrested, you handed me over to my family…to the people who watered me, and I fuckin grew. I grew in ways you never considered, and these past few weeks when I came back…when you had me in your hands…you didn realize the threat I had become.” I took a breath as I saw anger grow in his eyes “You let your hunger for power and turf get the best of you. If you had ordered a run when people was in the clubhouse, I woulda been screwed…but you made the mistake of underestimating me…of going for everything at once…and now I’m buryin you.” I leaned forward and challenged him to try something “But I know you ain’t a seed, you a sad, pathetic, has-been, that abuses kids to try and feel strong.” I took a breath and raised my eyebrows, knowing exactly what he was planning “have fun rottin in a cage…I’m gonna undo every horrible thing you did to the southside, and I’ll make amends so big that they forget you ever existed” For the last time I would ever see, Ro’s anger got the best of him. He broke free of the guards around him and rushed me. I took the hits just like I had a million times before, except this time I started hitting back. I was only able to get one or two shots in, before the guards pulled him off. I stood up and spit a combination of spit and freshly drawn blood on him. Standing tall and strong, showing him his abuse wasn’t going to get the better of me…not today. Without even hesitating Nancy grabbed me by the back of my suit and pulled me close…I know Tak’s the youngest…but I have a feeling I’ll always be her baby. Finally after a good minute she let me go, and ran her hand against my bleeding lip. “I’m fine mom” I groaned, worried how bad her overreaction was going to be. “Walter…” She shook looking at him He let out a long sigh and took a look at the blood on my face “What do you want me to do Nancy? Get him a longer sentence than life?” I rolled my eyes and pushed past them to a nervous Carter who had been watching for hours “You just love trouble don’t you?” he let out, quickly hugging me. “It tends to follow me.” I smiled, with a shrug of my shoulders. He pulled away, and took a good look at me “Are you ready for tomorrow?” “I don’t know” I shook “Maybe Owen will man up and do the right thing.” “Don’t bank on it.” Carter exhaled, reflecting on how weak he is “The judge will see you did the right thing, they’ll know you had no choice…and then the next day we have the finals.” “We’re gonna win” I dismissed, not even worried about basketball “No one’s even made it close to us, we the warriors.” Since I got back the team has really clicked on all cylinders. People I play against are even more scared of me than they were before…now there’s new rumors going around about Riley Walker…and for whatever reason they’re even crazier than the first batch. “Ah so you’re Curry?” he teased, taking my mind off all the stress of the day. “We both know I’m Green” I giggled, happily gazing into his eyes…okay maybe this is what Mr. Williams meant by we’re obvious…but hell…now that it’s out to our families…what do we care? “So you’ll be there tomorrow?” “Yup” he confidently nodded “Me and my Dad…he’ll pull some string if he has to.” “Oh yeah?” I asked, looking over at the man who was now talking with my parents. “Yeah” Carter nodded, shifting from his dad to the small boy between my parents “And that’s Takbir?” “Mhm” I hummed, calling the young boy over “Tak this is me and Aaron’s best friend Carter.” The young boy clung to me, jarred by seeing Ro’s anger one last time “Hi” Carter squatted down to get on his level “You know, I just met a boy who got adopted from the Southside a few months ago?” “What was he like?” Tak asked, not understanding who he was talking about. Carter smiled at his innocent and looked up at me “He was rough around the edges at first…he got in a lot of trouble, and even started a fight…but before I knew it…before he knew it…he had the world in his hands…and now…now he’s become a hero.” “You’re talking about Riley!” Tak finally caught on looking up at me “Do you think I’m gonna be a hero one day?” “I’m not a hero” I laughed off, rustling his short hair “And yeah, if you really want to be…you can be whatever you want little man.” He slowly narrowed in his eyes as a serious look overtook his face “but what if they take me away?” “We won’t let them.” I dismissed, as my own smile began to fade “Look at me…” I instructed as he looked down “When have I ever failed?” The young boy’s eyes met mine and he shook his head “Never” he let out “Even when you got caught, you got the job done…how many tallys you got?” “Somethin close to 300” I confessed keeping eye contact with him “I think I have one left to add too.” “From rescuin me and the other guy?” Tak asked as I nodded my head. “Tak, what do they mean?” Carter asked, hoping to finally get the answer. “Tak don’t you…” I began, seeing the young boy smile once more. “How many jobs he did.” Tak quickly answered, giving away the secret “He’s done that many runs.” “Last night was the last time you stayin in me and Aaron’s room” I shook, pushing him back towards our parents. The 2 began to laugh as my pout only grew. Seeing Carter this good with someone so young…it gives me hope. I don’t know if I’ll ever be good enough with kids to have some of my own, but he is…and maybe, maybe he can teach me. I don’t want kids for a while, but they wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world…besides that dream…if that could happen…let’s just say there was a reason it felt like heaven. That night flashbacks of Ro where the least of my worries. I couldn’t stand the idea that they would take Tak away from us…that the courts would even consider the ideas. I looked at the young boy who laid asleep next to me, the one who was slowly wrapping the house around his finger by using his big eyes to his advantage. There’s no doubt in my mind he would’ve never survived on the streets…it’s just not a place for kids as niave and innocent as him. For whatever reason he looks for the light side on everything…he’s always smiling and laughing…he’s accepted Nancy and Walter as his parents within his 2nd week here…and his teachers at his new school say he’s behind, but that they love having him. He’s not a hood rat…he’s an 11 year old boy looking for a home. As the sun rose so did my determination. No one’s going to take him from us…not while I’m around.
  9. 9 points
    I'm back! Thank you to Steve and Cia for taking care of the blog while I was gone. What a better way to celebrate being back than by starting a new blog feature called Improve & Encourage. It's similar to a review, in that the person doing the critique tells you what they liked about the story, but it differs in that they also provide constructive criticism. Each author signed up to participate, and sign up's are still open! These will post once a month until we no longer have content. Once that happens, I will critique the last author that posted. If you'd like to provide a critique for the blog, sign up in the thread. I'm hoping to have a lot more authors sign up, and just remember, by signing up, you are also volunteering to have your story critiqued and featured. Sparkle Aditus Critique By: Hudson Bartholomew Please give us a short summary of the story you chose. Sparkle is a 3-part historical vampire anthology, with each part told from the perspective of a different main character. The first tells the story of Zaidu and how he was abandoned by his mother as a child, eventually to become a vampire with a mission. The second is about Adam and his resilience and love of life, despite the hatred and intolerance he's endured. The third focuses on Adam's lover, Oliver, and how his nobility is inspired by the love he and Adam shared. Zaidu, Adam and Oliver come together at the end of part three, which feels more like a beginning than an end, with hints that many great adventures lie ahead. What do you see as the strengths of the story/poem? Aditus packs a lot of world building into each of the three short parts, bringing the reader directly into the action without any drawn out data dumps. The characters' personalities are immediately established, as are their motivations and desires. At the outset, the reader almost expects each part to stand completely independent from the others, but Aditus weaves the stories of the three characters together seamlessly, with each connection feeling natural and logical. By the time you get into the middle of part two, it becomes clear how each character compliments the others, so that by the end of part three, the stage is set for some epic quest (full disclosure: I have no idea if such epic quest exists, but I would certainly like to read it if Aditus writes it!). What do you see as the weaknesses of the story/poem? Much of the story is told in flashback, which was a little confusing until I caught on to what was happening. In parts two and three, Aditus uses italics to indicate a flashback, which helps to differentiate between what is happening now and what is a memory. As each part reads like a short vignette, I often found myself eager for more background or development of certain plot points. For example, Zaidu sounds like he has a long and rich history as a vampire, which is difficult to do justice to in a short vignette; and Zaidu and Adam develop a relationship off-page that I would love to read more about. There are only a few references to the specifics of vampire-hood within this universe (for example, their origin story, the effects of daylight, etc.), which could be expanded upon for more world building; to be fair, though, those details are not central to the story thus far. How do you think the story/poem could be improved? With more installments to the anthology! The first three parts really do feel like a set up for a much longer story, and I feel that there are many nuances to the characters that have been introduced, but not fully explored. I am quite confident that if Aditus chooses to continue writing Sparkle, many of my unanswered questions will be more than adequately addressed in future installments. What was your favorite part? (scene/sentence/etc) I loved the last scene of part three where Zaidu and Adam exchange some brief dialogue loaded with subtext. It hints at a deep relationship they've developed and leaves the reader wanting more. Also, even though he is supposed to be a mighty warhorse, Riah sounds adorable.
  10. 8 points
    I pondered doing the same thing....I couldn't walk away though...so I sucked it up and decided to just have fun and socialize with my friends...besides I need you to run the dork side of the Dorky-Darkside
  11. 8 points
    Thank you so much Hudson Bartholomew! I feel absolutely encouraged! You made my day! I put a great amount of research into this series and I'm so glad you liked and appreciated it. Even though vampires aren't 'it' anymore, they still interest me and I read much about their history and used some of this in the series. And there actually exist a fourth part since the last anthology: Dalkhu, which means demons.
  12. 8 points
    coming out You hide within a thick skin of sadness Depression walks by your side In the midst of becoming You wait in the dark Staring at the sky for light Don’t be afraid that time will come Your fear will lessen each day That sadness you’ll slough Until you are free And your soul a resplendent sun
  13. 7 points

    From the album Various

    So relaxing and really helps inspire the creativity!
  14. 7 points
    We are the Dorky-Darkside Duo, lol. Thank you Sir. I look forward to the same, Sir. Love you too, JP! 🤗
  15. 7 points
    I am saddened to read this Drew. I am buoyed by the fact you have chosen to say. I look forward to further discussions with you.
  16. 7 points
  17. 7 points
    Silas Silas wandered into the kitchen and froze at what he saw. Daniel was cooking dinner, okay nothing out of the ordinary there. In a shirt that obviously wasn’t his, still not unusual since they lived with Carlos and Oliver. But…were those hickeys??? And he was humming!!! “You sound happy,” Silas snorted, causing Daniel to yelp and spin round. When Silas saw his front, he doubled over laughing. Daniel had neglected to button the front of the shirt fully and bites covered his chest. All in the pattern of a love heart. “Someone’s had a busy afternoon. Just what did you do to get those?” Daniel’s face flamed as red as his hair and Silas gaped. “You finally did it, didn’t you?” Silas loved to fluster his brother and Daniel was definitely getting more and more flustered. “I don’t know what you mean,” he insisted rapidly doing up the buttons on the shirt. “Don’t tell me that nonsense, I want to hear the truth.” Silas insisted, not above torturing Daniel until he was as red as a tomato. Daniel mumbled something quick under his breath and Silas strained to make it out. He was about to make him repeat himself when the smell of burning caught both of their attention. “Shit!” Daniel yelled and grabbed the pan off of the stove. It made a hissing sound when he dropped it in the sink. Silas tried to wipe the grin off his face as his brother rounded on him. “See what you made me do? If it’s really that important to you, yes, I let Carlos have me, fuck me, shaft me. Whatever you want to call it. Now, will you let me get the dinner cooked in peace?” Silas moved to wrap Daniel in a hug. “I’m happy for you, bro. Truly. I think this is the beginning of the end of a really bad time for us and I can’t wait to see what happens next for us.” Daniel sighed and leaned back into his embrace. “I know. But, it’s private you know?” Silas hug him. “I know, I’ll try to behave.” Daniel let out a snort. “Okay, I’ll really try to behave. Now, what are we cooking for dinner?” *** Carlos “Thanks.” He took the glass of whisky Oliver held out. “I think things are on the up, you know?” “Hmm.” Oliver stirred his drink and Carlos squinted at him. His friend wasn’t paying any attention, that wouldn’t do. “Of course, I suppose getting laid has put me in a better mood.” “Hmmm.” More stirring. “It got even better when Silas joined in. I mean having two boys to service me at once? A dream come true.” “Hmmm…hang on what!!” Oliver slapped his glass down and was on his feet. Carlos rolled up in laughter. “You should see your face,” He chortled. “Oh-my-god. At least I got your attention.” He wiped the tears from his eyes. “What had you so preoccupied?” “Oh, I’m trying to figure out how to propose to Silas, I—Shit, I wasn’t meant to tell you. You’d better not laugh or tell Daniel or—oof.” Carlos grabbed his best friend in bear hug. “Why would I tell anyone? This is great. You have to let me help you.” They were still sitting with their heads together plotting when the boys called them for dinner.
  18. 7 points
    @Shadow086 Velocity- 44 chapters Crestfallen-45 chapters Blinded-37 chapters Hmm...it does look like there's room for something in the future
  19. 6 points

    From the album Slytherin 2017

    I love chestnut trees
  20. 6 points
    I decided the same the other day... I love you Drewbear! PM me when you feel like it!! 😘
  21. 6 points
    I'm so glad my motorcycle has anti-lock brakes. They saved me a major headache today. I went out to lunch, had my hair cut, and then went to see King Arthur. On the way home I spot a bright yellow Jeep and become distracted while trying to see if CJ's at the wheel. It was a four door so it wasn't Defiant. And the brakes saved my ass!
  22. 6 points
    This can't be the end!!! I need to know what happens after rehab! Riley must be ok! He must have his happy ever after! He must become a dad - the best ever!!!! Please give us an epilogue..... or maybe two or three??????😱
  23. 6 points
    I can't believe I haven't read these already. I'm checking them out now (I think I have 3 or 4 windows open to different stories that I'm reading....gotta love ADHD).
  24. 5 points

    From the album Various

    Can you picture a better place to relax and write?
  25. 5 points
  26. 5 points
    Sparkle is a great series by a great author. A definite 'must' for vampire fans. Great job on the review, Hudson. Now I need to get going on my own review... I totally forgot about it!
  27. 5 points
    About twenty years ago I stopped at Tim Hortons to grab lunch. I needed to go grocery shopping, but had to wait until payday and had five bucks to last the rest of the week. A dollar went further then than it does now, which meant I had just enough to pay for some cheap groceries until I got paid. It was very crowded due to it being "Camp Day", when they collect donations to send needy/ill children to summer camp. There were several people with boxes collecting donations and a girl approached me with a big smile and asked if I would like to make a donation. I looked at the dollars in my hand, did some math, and came to the conclusion that I didn't have any money I could give. She said "even just a dollar is fine". Or something along those lines. Giving a dollar meant that I had to skip eating, and at the time I worked 12 hour days six days a week as the assistant manager of an equestrian center. So it was very physical work requiring lots of energy. I apologized and said I wasn't able to donate. The look on her face made it very clear that she thought I was being a cheapskate. I felt horrible. I would have been more than happy to donate, had I been in a position to do so. Fast forward to today. It's Camp Day again at TH. I no longer have to worry about scrimping every dollar until payday. So I made a donation and included an extra dollar. I hope that person twenty years ago has learned some empathy. You never know what someone needs that dollar for.
  28. 5 points
    This was brilliant, @Hudson Bartholomew. I could relate to all of it, and I agree with your assessments. You've set a high standard for the rest of us to follow.
  29. 5 points
    @spikey582 I was watching the news on TV while having coffee and I was lost. Turned on the laptop and it's all over Facebook with people having fun. Not that I feel sorry for the guy but he definitely isn't getting a break. Oh well, this is one reason my footprint on social media is so small. You never know what will come back to haunt you these days. And after that time when my naked picture showed up in somebody's profile on Scruff...
  30. 5 points
    Caesura has finally been updated! https://www.gayauthors.org/stories/chapter/38107-chapter-6/ And my Series 'Sparkle' is mentioned in Renee's blog! Wow! Thank you Hudson Bartholomew! *happy dance*
  31. 5 points
    You are essentially who you create yourself to be and all that occurs in your life is the result of your own making. Stephen Richards
  32. 5 points
    Its too darn early to be crying but I did it anyway. I love all the extra details on here. Jack is one of my most favorite characters because he is relatable.
  33. 5 points
    I have to agree with @Smoothy I'd like to know what happened after rehab. I loved this story. This is one that should be a movie.
  34. 5 points
    My best friend through high school and college had one of those at this house. His dad built a racketball court behind the house and the building had a small weight room and a large open space with a giant projection TV (before the modern stuff), a pool table, and a bunch of games. We spent more time in that room than anywhere else. The bathroom didn't have a urinal though.
  35. 5 points
    loved this story. Riley is a brave young man. Although you did have me in tears at the end, it is still an excellent tail.
  36. 5 points
    wow. it starting to have a happy ending but could always read more about Riley and Carter
  37. 4 points
    Imagine your perfect life. What’s it like? Are you rich? Are you popular? Do you have a million cars? Well 17 year old Teddy Haner doesn't have to imagine. Being student body president, and captain of his lacrosse team…he has everything! However when a new mysterious friend flips his world upside down, and starts to ascend to stardom, he finds that there’s a lot more to life than popularity.
  38. 4 points
    *squeezing you rrreal tight* Love you baby boy
  39. 4 points
    Time to go searching through Scruff because clearly I'm missing out.
  40. 4 points
  41. 4 points
    Finally getting round to reading the anthology stories. I need more hours in the day.....
  42. 4 points
    Things were said this weekend and quite a few (more than two) people were hurt. I personally have sent messages to those I have noticed are not around. Too much was said publicly, so I sent my support in a private message. We're family and families fight, but we also make up. Let's find a way to put this weekend behind us and move on.
  43. 4 points
    In life we fall flat Perseverance pulls us through With honor and strength -BlindAmbition
  44. 4 points
    A guy goes into a bar. He's sitting on the stool, enjoying his drink when he hears, "You look great!" He looks around - there's nobody near him. He hears the voice again, "No really, you look terrific." The guy looks around again. Nobody. He hears, "Is that a new shirt or something? Because you are absolutely glowing!" He then realizes that the voice is coming from a dish of nuts on the bar. "Hey," the guy calls to the bartender, "What's with the nuts?" "Oh," the bartender answers, They're complimentary." May 31st National Autonomous Vehicle Day National Macaroon Day National Save Your Hearing Day National Speaking In Complete Sentences Day National Senior Health and Fitness Day Did you Know? Fresh apples float because they contain 25% air.
  45. 4 points
    I started to post this as a status update and got scared @Reader1810 or one of the other meanies moderators would object. Good thing my stories involve politics so it's an acceptable theme in the discussion. CJ got pissed off at one of his professors and told him to go covfefe. Good thing our boy's friendly with the dean of the school. Sooo, I'm writing about a little event which took place the first Tuesday last November and all these random ideas keep popping up in my head and I have to stop and jot down notes. It started with one of the basketball players for the Georgetown Hoyas this morning and then I checked out the news. And I have my word of the day to work into the story.
  46. 4 points
    What a great new beginning for Jack, all his past kindnesses paying him back in an amazing windfall.
  47. 4 points
    I'm a bit disappointed in the court case, the judge should've dismissed the case and ordered Brock to pay Riley's legal fees. But that's a minor detail. So sad about Grandpa Frank, but it's nice that Riley took his last lesson to heart. Riley sure has come a long way to kissing his boyfriend in public like that. The last scene was touching. It must have been a hard decision for Riley, knowing that he may have to give up Carter to do this. But the best thing for Riley to do is get away from it all. There's one thing I'm wondering, though. What happened with Owen after the trial? Did he start hanging out with them again or did his father make him transfer schools? What a great story! I'm looking forward to reading it again, and I agree there should be an epilogue.
  48. 4 points
    I was really worried that you would throw a nasty curve and the end of the story. Thankfully you let the boys move forward towards peace - maybe they insisted on it. Characters have a way of taking on a life of their own. Great story. Thanks
  49. 4 points
    I'm trying not to cry... Thank you so much, it's the first time I have a poem written for me Your words are so beautiful, I don't know how to describe the feeling they give me...
  50. 4 points
    I should be the happiest I’ve ever been in my life…I mean I’m free…in the morning I’m even meeting with Mr. Williams and a few detectives to make sure Ro rots in jail. We start playoffs in a few days, I have a new little brother, the only kid in the Northside who’s been a dick to me literally owes me his life…and I have the best damn boyfriend in the world…I’m living it up…I mean, shouldn’t I be? That night the pain from my new cuts and bruises seemed to roar off me, keeping me awake. Not that I could fall asleep even if I wanted to…every time I closed my eyes all I could see was Ro’s angry face. I know we’ll get him, but right now, he’s out there, and sure he’s weak…he’s out of weapons…but he’s been the shot caller of the saints all these years for a reason…I have a bad feeling I’m in just as much danger now as I was in the Southside. “Sleep well your first night back?” Aaron smiled, as the alarm on his phone sounded. It took about an hour of fighting, but our parents finally convinced Aaron to let me stay in my old room for a few weeks…just until they can convert the upstairs library into a bedroom. The original plan was for Tak to stay in Aaron’s room, but if anyone’s sleeping in this bed…it’s gonna be me. Tak didn’t care either way, he’s not like other 11 year olds, or even me for that matters, he’s not scared of nightmares or sleeping alone…he won’t say how long he’s been homeless for, but I have a bad feeling he was more like me than he lets on. “I hope you know there’s a Carter ban on this room too.” Aaron teased, ignoring my silence. I turned away and flashed him a middle finger “Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed” Aaron shrugged , realizing he was hitting the wrong buttons. Finally Walter yanked me out of bed, and forced me out to the William’s house. As I got ready, all I could see on the news was flashes of me and Owen’s faces as they tried to get the story right. A few made it the feel good story of the year, an exgang member saving a kid from another world…while other’s made me out to be the villain, the one’s whose fault it was he got taken in the first place. Either way, they were the least of my worries…for now anyway. “What’s up with you?” Carter smiled, seeing the exhaustion and pain on my face. “I’m fine” I grumbled, trying to force a smile “Just a lot goin on.” Carter shot me a concerned look and discreetly rubbed my arm “It’s over Riley, you’re safe.” “No” I shook, looking deep into his eyes “It’s just startin” “What do you mean?” Carter cautiously exhaled, as we overheard negotiations between my father and the lead detective. “I need assurance that what my son has immunity…” We overheard Walter shout “I refuse to let him speak unless we have that! That goes for testimony from Takbir as well!” Carter went to speak, but I raised my hand, wanting to hear the rest of the conversation “Then we’ll just have to take him in for questioning, I don’t know what you want me to…” “Go for that!” A muffled Walter interrupted “He’s been raised in these games, he can stare down anyone for days, and not talk…I can guarantee the only way he talks is if I tell him to.” “Oh” Carter sighed, starting to get a grip of my fears “My Dad won’t let you go to Juvy.” he shook, as we both slowly made our way to the room they were in “I mean nothing you did this past week and a half was that bad…was it?” “I ran with the saints again.” I mumbled, not even looking at him “I been sellin meth, watching drive bys happen, and walkin around with a dead officer’s badge…and if Owen’s Dad presses charges…maybe this sacrifice was bigger than I thought.” Carter went to say something, but words escaped him as we finally entered the room with everyone in it. “Come on Riley…” Walter began “Let’s get out of here, it’s clear…” “No” the lead detective sighed “I can give you assurance that if he speaks, none of what he says will get held against him.” Walter shook his head and let out a long groan “I need assurance that his action won’t be held against him, I’m done playing these games…now if you’ll excuse me, we’d like to celebrate Riley’s return, and our newest son’s arrival.” Carter made a face at his words, as though he didn’t understand what Walter was talking about. “Yo” I let out, slowly backing up towards Walter “Take this” I instructed, pulling a badge out of my pocket and throwing it to the detective “Ro made me hold onto this back on the streets…get it to Cooper’s family.” “This was Cooper’s?” The detective repeated, taking another look at me. I shrugged my shoulders but refused to elaborate “Sorry” I finally let out “I gotta do what’s best for me.” “I want that case solved” Mr. William’s spoke up as Carter pulled on him “More so than this one…dead cops are bad publicity…” he pressured, looking towards Walter “I mean cops are a brotherhood right? Surely you can give this kid immunity for selling drugs and theft for information on a cops death.” “Alright!” the detective frustratedly let out, pulling over a paper and drawing up the agreement “The state won’t pursue your son on this case, but that doesn’t mean the Avery family won’t pursue him for damages in civil court.” “Oh you have to be kidding me with that!” Mr. Williams couldn’t help but let out “I don’t even like the kid, and I wouldn’t press charges against him! He returned their kid…” “Dad…” Carter let out embarrassed by his father’s words. The detective, pushed the paper towards Walter to read, before turning back to Mr. Williams “Look, the kid detailed a lot of abuse, and he claims most of those cuts and scars he now has are from Cy…” The detective lead, looking towards me. I kept silent until finally, Walter waived me over and told me it was okay to sign the paper. “Carter leave” I mumbled, as I took a seat “You don’t wanna hear this.” “What?” he shook, staring at me “What do you…” “Carter” his father scolded “Go to your room, Cy can go hang out with you when he’s done here.” “It’s for the best” I reassured as he reluctantly left the room. When I was certain he was out of hearing range, I looked up to the detective, and took a deep breath “On my first night back Ro forced me into a room, and made me carve up Owen…” “We know” the detective interrupted “It has your handiwork written all over it.” “Handiwork?” Walter repeated, starting to grow uncomfortable “How many times have you done something like that that you have…” “Maybe you should go too” I shook, peering over at him. “No” Walter dismissed “I’ll…I’ll stay quiet.” “Then what?” I exhaled, turning back towards the detective “What do you want to hear?” “Tell us about Ro Martinez.” The detective keyed in “Who is he?” For the next hour or so I went on and on about the man I knew as Ro. I told them everything…from when he tried to recruit me, and when he saved my life…to my most recent beatings from him. I tried my best not to spare a detail…to leave it all out there. I never thought I’d ever talk to the cops…but if it gets rid of Ro…if it gives them a case to lock him up…then that’s all I need. Finally as we wrapped up, Walter gave me the okay to go talk to Carter for a few minutes while they sorted all the legal stuff out. “I know you think it’s over…” I let out, creaking open Carter’s door “but trust me, it’s just startin.” Carter lightly shook his head, as he laid on his bed, back to me “Why couldn’t you have just let the police handle everything?” he let out in a low voice. “Cause…this way we all came back alive” I exhaled, walking over and taking a seat on his bed “I don’t know if you could ever understand…but they woulda killed Owen the second they heard I was talkin to the cops.” “So what? You go and put a target on your…” “I was gonna put a target on my back anyway!” I interrupted grabbing onto his arm, and forcing him to look at me “Whether I talked to the cops then, or now…I was always gonna end up with a target on my back…at least now I got the evidence I need to put Ro away…at least now I know I tried to end the saints.” I laid there and held him for a minute as tears began to fall from his eyes “I jus need to know…are you sticking with me…or is this the end of us?” “What?” he shook, not understanding why I would even ask that. “I’m all over the news right now…and Owen’s dad’s gonna hit us with a lawsuit…” I exhaled, no longer looking at him “I’m gonna have to testify against Ro…and I don’t even know if I’ll ever be the same again.” “Why not?” he poked, reaching up and gently rubbing my face. I exhaled a deep breath as his hand hit all the new cuts and marks on my face “I can’t close my eyes without seeing it all…this time…this time everythin I did…I knew it was wrong. When I was younger at least I was too stupid to realize, but now I know what I was doin…and I know what testifying against Ro means.” I shook my head and pulled away from him “What if it puts you in danger? What if…” “Stop” he smiled, sitting up so we could be on equal level “Whatever happens…happens, but I’ll be by your side through it all.” He gently grabbed my hand and met my forehead with his “And if Owen’s dad is that much of an asshole to come after you…he’ll have to go through my dad.” “Too bad he doesn’t like me.” I groaned, trying to pull away, but Carter kept himself on me, making sure I couldn’t put space between us. “Oh please, he just said that because he doesn’t want you to suddenly think you can come over whenever you want.” He quietly laughed “Trust me, after what you did this week…it’s went a long way with all the people who’ve doubted you.” I took in a breath, and kissed him for the first time since I left…a lot of things don’t feel the same, but thank god this does…thank god our love still makes me feel whole “I really gotta go, we gotta make sure Tak is adjusting and well…I guess I’ve learned a thing or two about that.” “Tak?” he repeated, not having heard the stories from his mother yet. “Takbir.” I explained, but the curiosity in his eyes didn’t disappear “He helped me rescue Owen, he was going to replace me in the Saints…it’s a whole thing, we’re going to adopt him though.” “What?” he jumped up with excitement “There’s a second Riley on the way?” “There’s only 1 Riley” I smiled, as the happiness in his eyes spread “But yeah, he’ll be me and Aaron’s newest brother.” “Can I meet him?” Carter poked, excited by the potential of helping save another ex-gang member. I softly nodded, as I backed up towards the door “Yeah, he’ll be around, but for now we just have to help him settle…although he’s already getting the hang of things…I guess the change is easier when you’re 11 than when you’re 16.” “Awwww he’s 11?” Carter laughed, still full of excitement “You’re a hero Riley Walker.” I rolled my eyes and began to walk out the door “You might be the only one who sees it that way.” “When have you ever needed anyone else?” Carter teased, as I walked out of his room. Thank god he’s still got my back…thank god he’ll always be there for me…thank god I have Carter. The next few days went just as rocky, but I knew I had the support of my family. Throughout all the nightmares, and sleepless nights they were still there with me. This fear…this anxiety…it’ll all pass once Ro goes behind bars…right? Finally the day came when the police finally tracked down Ro, and his court date was set…as if I didn’t have enough time to be worried about that, Owen’s father hand delivered court papers for a civil suit against me for “assault”. Nancy and Walter didn’t even hesitate to tell me it’ll all be okay…that we’ll win with our hands behind our back…but I could tell they were worried…we all were. After all, Brock wasn’t suing for money…but to have the state to remove our right to foster and adopt…to take Tak away from us. The real fight…it’s all just begun…but this time I’m not alone…this time I have the people I care about behind me...and Brock…he’s going to regret not just walking away.
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